Image taken from the Michael J. Fox Foundation website.
Image taken from the Michael J. Fox Foundation website.

Civitas Therapeutics Inc. of Chelsea said Tuesday that it has received a $1 million grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to advance trials of an experimental treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

An estimated 6 million people worldwide suffer from Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder caused by the diminished production of dopamine, resulting in progressive impairment of motor function including tremors, rigidity, and difficulty in moving.

According to the Michael J. Fox Foundation website, the actor was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson’s disease in 1991. Upon disclosing his condition in 1998, he committed himself to the campaign for increased Parkinson’s research.

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Civitas said that the foundation’s $1 million grant will support a clinical trial of a drug candidate it calls CVT-301. CVT-301 is an inhaled formulation of levodopa, which is also known as L-dopa. CVT-301 is being developed as an adjunct therapy designed to provide rapid and reliable relief from intermittent debilitating motor fluctuations that impact a large proportion of Parkinson’s disease patients, the company said.

“The enthusiasm and support of MJFF (Michael J. Fox Foundation) for CVT-301 has been extraordinarily valuable in our efforts,” Rick Batycky, founder and chief scientific officer of Civitas, said in a statement. “In addition to its financial contributions, the foundation’s ability to help connect us with patients, thought leaders, and other important stakeholders has contributed to our rapid progress. We receive consistent feedback that our simple product configuration is uniquely suited for this patient population, and this furthers our confidence that CVT-301 has the potential to provide a transformative benefit to those suffering from this devastating disease.”

This is the second grant that Civitas has received from the Michael J. Fox Foundation for CVT-301.