Research Roundtable for Epilepsy

About the Research Roundtable for Epilepsy

The Research Roundtable for Epilepsy (RRE) is an initiative of the Epilepsy Foundation to facilitate the development and implementation of new treatments and diagnostic tools for people with epilepsy, by collectively addressing roadblocks to research and development. Each 1 1⁄2 day roundtable focuses on a single critical issue, and allows an in-depth discussion in a pre-competitive space. 

Companies that are involved in developing products for the treatment or diagnosis of epilepsy are invited to become members of the RRE. Companies that accept will select 3 representatives. Research roundtable members will select the topic for the upcoming Roundtable (planned for February 2017). Areas that have been proposed so far include disease modification trial methodology, re-assessment of outcome measures in epilepsy trials, and optimal trial designs for epilepsy orphan diseases. (The first Roundtable meeting, held in May 2016, focused on new trial designs to reduce participants’ exposure to add-on placebo and ineffective doses of experimental therapies.)

Once the topic is selected, the Roundtable Chairs and support staff initiate research into important background material relevant to the issue. The chairs also invite expert speakers, from the epilepsy community and from other disciplines, to set the stage for discussion. In addition to Roundtable industry representatives, Roundtable attendees include relevant representatives from the epilepsy community, clinicians and regulators. We expect the Roundtable format to provide opportunity for an in-depth discussion of pertinent developments and challenges related to the topic, and in most cases a pathway forward will be identified. The proceedings will then be written and published in a well-regarded academic journal to be shared with the broader community.

For additional information about the Research Roundtable in Epilepsy, please contact Dr. Brandy Fureman at bfureman@efa.org.

RRE Advisory Committee

  • American Epilepsy Society
  • Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy
  • Epilepsy Leadership Council
  • National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

The Epilepsy Foundation deeply appreciates the partnership of four esteemed organizations that make up the Research Roundtable Advisory Committee: the American Epilepsy Society, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy, the Epilepsy Leadership Council and the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke.  This outstanding group, in addition to two members nominated from within the RRE, played a major role in organizing the agenda for the meeting around the chosen topic, confirming the most innovative speakers, and ensuring this years inaugural Roundtable is was a success for individuals with epilepsy, their families, and all who are dedicate their professional lives to treating epilepsy patients and finding a cure.  Thank you!

2016 RRE Member Companies

The Epilepsy Foundation is was honored to include twenty highly innovative companies in the inaugural session of its newest initiative, the Research Roundtable for Epilepsy (RRE). Participating companies, designated representatives, and a brief summary of each member company’s priorities for new and improved epilepsy therapies are listed below. On behalf of the community of individuals and families living with epilepsy, the Foundation commends the Research Roundtable member companies for contributing to this altruistic and collaborative partnership to advance new therapies for the epilepsies. Thank you!

Acorda Therapeutics

Acorda is a biopharmaceutical company developing and marketing therapies to restore function and improve the lives of people with neurological disorders.  The company is currently studying PLUMIAZ (diazepam) Nasal Spray, in clinical trials, for the treatment of seizure clusters.  This is in addition to multiple products across the neurology spectrum, including Parkinson’s disease, migraine, post-stroke walking difficulty and multiple sclerosis.

Adamas Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Adamas Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is driven to improve the lives of those affected by chronic disorders of the central nervous system.  The company seeks to achieve this by modifying the pharmacokinetic profiles of approved drugs to create novel therapeutics for use alone and in fixed-dose combination products.  Adamas is currently developing ADS-5102, its lead wholly owned product candidate, for the treatment of levodopa-induced dyskinesia associated with Parkinson's disease and for the treatment of major symptoms associated with multiple sclerosis in patients with walking impairment.  The company is also evaluating ADS-4101, an extended-release version of an FDA-approved single-agent compound for the treatment of epilepsy.  In addition, under a license agreement with Forest Laboratories Holdings Limited, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Allergan plc., the company is eligible to receive royalties from Forest on sales of Namenda XR® and Namzaric™ beginning in June of 2018 and May of 2020, respectively. For more information, please visit www.adamaspharma.com.

(Namzaric™ is a trademark of Merz Pharma GmbH & Co. KGaA; Namenda XR® is a registered trademark of Merz Pharma GmbH & Co. KGaA.)

Alexza Pharmaceuticals

Alexza is focused on the development of novel proprietary products for acute treatment of underserved medical needs. Their commercial product and pipeline candidates are based on Alexza's proprietary Staccato® system, which vaporizes an excipient-free drug to form an orally inhaled aerosol.  Their current epilepsy pipeline includes AZ-002 (staccato alprazolam) for use in cluster seizures.

Anavex Life Sciences Corporation

Anavex Life Sciences Corp. (Anavex) is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative diseases. Anavex compounds target the Sigma-1 receptor, which restore homeostasis and cell function when activated. Anavex’s lead compound, ANAVEX 2-73, has demonstrated good safety, bioavailability, and tolerability in Phase 1 and Phase 2 clinical trials. In addition, data from an ongoing Phase 2a clinical trial in Alzheimer’s disease demonstrates dose dependent cognitive improvements.  Previously, ANAVEX 2-73 has also demonstrated significant anti-seizure, anti-anxiety and cognitive enhancement effects in several different animal models as well as a dose related and significant improvements in an array of behavioral and gait paradigms in a mouse model for Rett Syndrome. Taken together, the preclinical results, in conjunction with the clinical

data, provide a strong rationale to investigate the potential benefits of ANAVEX 2-73 in a Phase 2 trial in patients with Rett Syndrome including seizures as an endpoint.

Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories

Generic medicines form the largest part of the Dr. Reddy’s product offering and create a foundation for drug discovery. Their R&D philosophy for Generics has evolved along multiple dimensions – from simple, oral solid-based products to complex oral solid dosages, injectable for both neurological and dermatological products; from simple chemistry to semi-synthetic APIs, Chirals, Prostaglandins, Peptides and nano-particle based products; from established processes to advanced particle engineering solutions and complex scale-ups. The first branded product was approved recently by the FDA for episodic migraine- Sumatriptan 3mg autoinjector.  Drug-device combinations are expected to have a continued focus in the future, along with nasal and fast acting oral differentiated formulations.

Eisai

A fully integrated pharmaceutical business, Eisai operates in two global business groups, oncology and neurology, of which epilepsy is a key area of therapeutic focus. The company strives to discover and develop innovative therapies based on an understanding of the emotions and realities of patients, in order to effectively address unmet medical needs. Its epilepsy products include Fycompa®, an AMPA receptor antagonist discovered in-house; Inovelon®/BANZEL®, a treatment for the rare disease Lennox-Gastaut syndrome; Zonegran®, a treatment for partial-onset seizures that Eisai owns the rights to in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Russia; and Zebinix®, a treatment for partial-onset seizures that Eisai co-markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa through a licensing agreement with the BIAL Group.

GW Pharmaceuticals

GW's lead program is the development of a product portfolio of cannabinoid prescription medicines to meet patient needs in a wide range of therapeutic indications.  Their current epilepsy pipeline includes Epidiolex® (a liquid formulation of pure plant-derived Cannabidiol) as a treatment for various orphan pediatric epilepsy syndromes and GWP42006, which features Cannabidivarin (CBDV) as the primary cannabinoid and which has shown antiepileptic properties across a range of pre-clinical models of epilepsy.

Insys Therapeutics, Inc.

Insys Therapeutics is a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops and commercializes innovative products that improve the quality of life of patients. Using its proprietary sublingual spray technology and its capability to develop pharmaceutical cannabinoids, the company addresses the clinical shortcomings of existing commercial products.  Insys is pursuing the development of treatments for Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome and Dravet Syndrome and the potential benefits of pharmaceutical cannabidiol therapies to epilepsy patients.

Lundbeck

Lundbeck is a fully-integrated pharmaceutical company, solely devoted to the treatment of psychiatric and neurological disorders. They dedicate their R&D efforts to develop innovative drugs, and their marketed epilepsy products include Onfi (clobazam; approved in 2011 for use in Lennox-Gastaut syndrome) and Sabril (vigabatrin; approved in 2009 for use in Infantile Spasms and refractory complex-partial seizures). Their epilepsy pipeline currently includes I.V. Carbamazepine in late stage development.

Medtronic, Inc.

Medtronic is a medical technology development company, with the mission of alleviating pain, restoring health and extending life for people around the world.  Our innovations change the lives of more than 10 million people worldwide each year. Our Brain Therapies business unit includes therapies in clinical development for the treatment of medically refractory epilepsy, including deep brain stimulation and MR-guided laser ablation.

Neurelis, Inc.

Neurelis is a specialty pharmaceutical company organized to license, develop, and commercialize product candidates for the treatment of central nervous system disorders.  Neurelis’ lead product, NRL-1 (intranasal diazepam), is being developed worldwide for pediatric, adolescent, and adult patients with epilepsy who require intermittent use of diazepam to control cluster seizures.  In clinical trials, the NRL-1 nasal spray has shown high bioavailability, low patient-to-patient and dose-to-dose variability, and minimal adverse events.  In November 2015, Neurelis received Orphan Drug Designation for NRL-1 in the treatment of Acute Repetitive Seizures, and it is in the final stage of clinical testing prior to submitting an NDA.

Ovid Therapeutics

Ovid is a biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapies for rare and orphan diseases of the brain. Ovid is pursuing the development of OV101 (gaboxadol) in Angelman Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome, two orphan neurological disease indications with no available treatment options, and expects to commence a Phase 2 trial for Angelman Syndrome in 2016.

Pfizer

Pfizer continues to explore neuroscience diseases with researchers exploring Precision Medicine approaches, rooted in human biology, neuroimaging, novel biomarkers, and a deeper understanding of brain circuitry. Neuroscience researchers are exploring the origins of central nervous system (CNS) diseases using genetics, neurophysiology, and functional brain imaging to design next generation therapeutics. Their epilepsy pipeline includes work with Lyrica (pregabalin; initially approved as adjunctive treatment for partial onset seizures in 2004 in EU), including an ongoing, comprehensive pediatric epilepsy program, as well as PF-06372865 being investigated in a photo-sensitivity epilepsy study. 

Pronutria Biosciences Inc.

Pronutria is pioneering the development transformative medicines and nutritional supplements for patients where disrupted amino acid biology plays a central role in their disease. We do this by identifying the amino acid signature associated with their disease and using our revolutionary technologies to locate the natural protein in food that can best carry it to the affected cells where balance and health can be restored.  Our vision is not a traditional pharmaceutical lock-fits-key approach but rather systems wide in scope.  Our initial therapeutic candidates are focused on treating orphan diseases in muscle, liver, and neuro (including epilepsy). Our products are derived from natural proteins found in food which provides an inherent safety advantage and can be administered orally.

SAGE Therapeutics

Sage Therapeutics is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company committed to developing novel medicines to transform the lives of patients with life-altering central nervous system (CNS) disorders. Sage has a portfolio of novel product candidates targeting critical CNS receptor systems. Sage's lead program, SAGE-547, is in Phase 3 clinical development for super-refractory status epilepticus, a rare and severe seizure disorder. Sage is developing its next generation modulators with a focus on acute and chronic CNS disorders, including orphan epilepsies such as Dravet syndrome and Rett syndrome.

Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Sunovion’s contribution to epilepsy therapeutics is Aptiom (eslicarbazepine acetate).  This agent is approved by FDA for the treatment of partial-onset seizures as monotherapy or adjunctive therapy.  Other marketed agents include Latuda (for treatment of schizophrenia and bipolar depression), Brovana (for controlling symptoms of COPD), and Lunesta (for insomnia). They are developing new therapies in the areas of attention deficit disorder, schizophrenia, binge-eating disorder, motor deficit from chronic stroke, and COPD.

Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

Supernus has brought two exciting medications to the epilepsy field in recent years: Oxtellar XR (oxcarbazepine) and Trokendi XR (topiramate).  They also have a dynamic pipeline in psychiatry, which is peaking interest among the neurology community due to the question of links between the two specialties.

UCB

UCB has a rich heritage in epilepsy with more than 20 years of experience in the research and development of anti-epileptic drugs. As a company with a long-term commitment to epilepsy research, UCB’s goal is to create more value for patients by addressing their unmet medical needs and continuously advancing science to be able to deliver the right drug at the right time to the right patient. In Q1 2016, there were several significant achievements and pipeline updates to the epilepsy portfolio:

  • Briviact® (brivaracetam) was approved in the EU in January 2016.  In the US, the FDA approved Briviact®  in February 2016.  Briviact®  is a controlled substance in the US and is currently undergoing scheduling by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).  Briviact®  will become commercially available in the US after DEA scheduling.   
  • Vimpat® (lacosamide) as monotherapy in the treatment of adults with partial-onset seizures was filed with the European authorities in January 2016 and there are ongoing Phase III studies focused on pediatric adjunctive therapy and PGTCS. The indication for partial-onset seizures in patients 16 years and older is currently under review by Japanese authorities.  
  • UCB3491 (Radiprodil), an investigational treatment for epilepsy, started clinical Phase I in January 2016
  • UCB0942 (PPSI) has ongoing Phase II studies in highly drug resistant epilepsy

Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc.

Upsher-Smith Laboratories, Inc., founded in 1919, is a growing, fully integrated pharmaceutical company dedicated to its mission of delivering high-value, high-quality therapies and solutions which measurably improve individuals’ lives.  Upsher-Smith has a particular focus on developing therapies for people living with central nervous system (CNS) conditions, such as seizure disorders.

Zogenix, Inc.

Zogenix, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZGNX) is a pharmaceutical company committed to developing and commercializing CNS therapies that address specific clinical needs for people living with orphan and CNS disorders who need innovative treatment alternatives to improve their daily functioning.  Zogenix recently initiated Phase 3 clinical studies for its orphan drug candidate, ZX008 (low dose fenfluramine, liquid formulation) for the treatment uncontrolled seizures in children and young adults with Dravet syndrome.  They work closely with support organizations such as the Dravet Syndrome Foundation, to support patients with this devastating disease and their families.