Novogen claims brain regeneration breakthrough

By Dylan Bushell-Embling
Friday, 16 January, 2015

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Novogen (ASX:NRT) has revealed it has made an important discovery that could pave the way for drugs capable of stimulating the function of brain tissue stem cells.

The company has identified a family of compounds with the ability to promote the growth and activity of normal brain stem cells.

The current approach to brain regeneration involves introducing tissue stem cells that have been cultivated outside of the body, but this requires a very invasive procedure to introduce the cells through the skull.

Even the adult brain produces stem cells capable of migrating to the sites of brain damage to facilitate repair, but the cells fail to produce enough new neurons to provide substantial recovery.

Novogen is searching for drugs that would promote the migration of stem cells to the site of injury and stimulate the regenerative capabilities of these cells. The proof-of-concept compounds could transform the approach to treating brain injuries.

“Some years ago, we saw evidence with one of our early drugs of an ability to promote the function of nerve cells, even to the extent of protecting nerve cells from damage by cytotoxic drugs,” Novogen Group CSO Dr David Brown said.

“But it is only now with the advent of our super-benzopyran drug platform that we are seeing a more profound effect to the extent of promoting the activity of the all-important brain stem cells. Now we have the basis of a drug development program.”

The company is conducting the research as part of its collaboration with embryonic stem cell specialist Genea Biocells.

Novogen separately revealed it has decided to terminate its convertible note agreement with Hudson Bay Capital because a recent capital raising has left it adequately funded.

The company had entered an agreement in July 2013 allowing it to take out up to five notes. Novogen has so far exercised four of these notes for a total value of $6 million, but has decided not to exercise the fifth note.

Novogen (ASX:NRT) shares were trading 12.24% higher at $0.11 as of around 12.30 pm on Friday.

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