• Press Release

The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai Announces Clinical Trial of New Investigational Therapy for Phelan-McDermid Syndrome

  • New York, NY
  • (May 07, 2018)

The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai announced today the start of patient enrollment in a new interventional study of an investigational therapy  in the treatment of epilepsy associated with Phelan-McDermid syndrome.

“Phelan-McDermid syndrome is an area of high unmet need, with no established treatment options available for patients,” said Alexander Kolevzon, MD, Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Clinical Director of the Seaver Autism Center, and Principal Investigator of the study. The investigational therapy, called AMO-01, is made by AMO Pharma. “Collaborating with AMO Pharma is an important milestone, since it’s imperative for academia and industry to partner in recognizing the importance of this syndrome and its relevance to neurodevelopmental disorders more broadly. Targeting epilepsy within Phelan-McDermid syndrome also presents a new opportunity for hope for people affected by this devastating condition.”

Phelan-McDermid syndrome, also known as 22q13 deletion syndrome, is a rare genetic condition caused by deletion or mutation of the SHANK3 gene on chromosome 22. The syndrome can cause a wide range of medical, intellectual, and behavioral challenges. The majority of patients with the syndrome also meet the criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and SHANK3 deletions or mutations are thought to account for up to one percent of ASD cases. A significant proportion of patients with Phelan-McDermid syndrome also experience seizures, which can be highly debilitating, and are at times refractory to traditional anti-seizure medications. Currently available treatments help manage symptoms of the syndrome, but there is no cure and no treatment specific to it.  Researchers are working hard to find medications and other therapies that can help affected individuals and their families.

The new study will examine the safety and potential efficacy of an infusion of AMO-01 in subjects with Phelan-McDermid syndrome aged 12 to 45 years who also have epilepsy. The study will also use novel outcome measures developed by the team at the Seaver Autism Center, including electrophysiology and clinical assessments of sensory reactivity.

AMO-01 is an inhibitor of the Ras-ERK pathway.  Recent laboratory studies suggest that extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) plays a critical role in synaptic plasticity, the ability of certain synapses to strengthen or weaken over time, and in neurodevelopment.  In preclinical efficacy studies, AMO-01 has been shown to rescue the nerve cell deficits  of the multiple knockout mouse models of intellectual disability, including a mouse model of Phelan-McDermid syndrome. While AMO-01 has not yet been investigated in Phelan-McDermid patients, the pretrial data provides strong scientific evidence to support the conclusion that inhibition of the Ras-ERK pathway  may have therapeutic benefit in the treatment of intellectual disabilities in humans.

“At AMO Pharma, our priority focus is to develop treatments for patients with rare and debilitating disorders, often where there are few or no treatment options available,” said Mike Snape, Chief Executive Officer of AMO Pharma. “In addition to the potential for a new treatment, this research will also provide many new insights about Phelan-McDermid syndrome that can play a critical role in future research and disease management.”

About the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai

The Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai conducts progressive research studies aimed at understanding the multiple causes of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  The multidisciplinary team is composed of experts in the fields of genetics, molecular biology, model systems, neuroimaging, biomarkers, diagnosis, and experimental therapeutics who are dedicated to discovering the biological causes of ASD.  The Center strives to develop innovative diagnostics and treatments for integration into the provision of personalized, comprehensive assessment and care for people with ASD.  The Seaver Autism Center was founded through the generous support of the Beatrice and Samuel A. Seaver Foundation. For more information, visit www.seaverautismcenter.org.

About AMO Pharma

AMO Pharma is a biopharmaceutical company incorporated in February of 2015. The co-founder, Dr. Michael Snape, has extensive experience in senior scientific and operational roles in both large pharma and biotech companies spanning more than 25 years, and has brought together a targeted and experienced senior management team with a proven track record of success in all phases of product development and acquisition. The company is working to identify and advance promising therapies for the treatment of serious and debilitating diseases in patient populations with significant areas of unmet need, including rare, debilitating childhood onset neurogenetic disorders with limited or no treatment options.

For more information, please visit the AMO Pharma website at http://www.amo-pharma.com/.

About the Mount Sinai Health System

Mount Sinai Health System is one of the largest academic medical systems in the New York metro area, with 48,000 employees working across eight hospitals, more than 400 outpatient practices, more than 600 research and clinical labs, a school of nursing, and a leading school of medicine and graduate education. Mount Sinai advances health for all people, everywhere, by taking on the most complex health care challenges of our time—discovering and applying new scientific learning and knowledge; developing safer, more effective treatments; educating the next generation of medical leaders and innovators; and supporting local communities by delivering high-quality care to all who need it.

Through the integration of its hospitals, labs, and schools, Mount Sinai offers comprehensive health care solutions from birth through geriatrics, leveraging innovative approaches such as artificial intelligence and informatics while keeping patients’ medical and emotional needs at the center of all treatment. The Health System includes approximately 9,000 primary and specialty care physicians and 11 free-standing joint-venture centers throughout the five boroughs of New York City, Westchester, Long Island, and Florida. Hospitals within the System are consistently ranked by Newsweek’s® “The World’s Best Smart Hospitals, Best in State Hospitals, World Best Hospitals and Best Specialty Hospitals” and by U.S. News & World Report's® “Best Hospitals” and “Best Children’s Hospitals.” The Mount Sinai Hospital is on the U.S. News & World Report® “Best Hospitals” Honor Roll for 2023-2024.

For more information, visit https://www.mountsinai.org or find Mount Sinai on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.