Two New Drugs Coming As Prevail Gets Started in NY


The Silverstein Foundation, a nonprofit organization formed by OrbiMed partner Jonathan Silverstein, announced the formation of a new startup in New York called Prevail Therapeutics. Headed by Columbia University neurology professor and Parkinson’s researcher Asa Abeliovich, the startup has launched to press forward with a gene therapy, and possibly other approaches, for a genetically-defined subset of people with the condition.Prevail has a deal in place with RegenXBio (NASDAQ: RGNX) to use a tool used in gene therapy that shuttles genetic instructions into the body to fix a disease-related malfunction. Prevail can now use the delivery tool, a type of engineered virus, to develop a gene therapy for Parkinson’s or other neurodegenerative diseases. The goal is to introduce a working copy of a gene that is mutated in people with a rare genetic form of Parkinson’s. The hope is that the new gene would alter the progression of the disease.
The startup is the first industry investment for the Silverstein Foundation, which formed earlier this year to fuel Parkinson’s research. CNBC reported Wednesday morning that Silverstein, a longtime life sciences investor at OrbiMed, started the foundation after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of Parkinson’s. According to its website, the foundation has given grants to the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the Parkinson’s Institute and Clinical Center in San Francisco, and Columbia University.
Abeliovich, whose research at Columbia has been focused on the genetics underlying Parkinson’s, worked with OrbiMed when he co-founded Alector, an OrbiMed-backed neurological drug developer in San Francisco (he’s currently that startup’s chief innovation officer). The OrbiMed connection led Abeliovich to join the Silverstein Foundation’s scientific advisory board, and eventually to discussions about forming new companies to combat the disease. The first is Prevail.
“He’s put together a real ‘SEAL team’ to try to figure out how we can advance things” against Parkinson’s, Abeliovich says of Silverstein.

For Parkinson’s, Two New Drugs Coming As Prevail Gets Started in NY