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Repurposing a known drug to treat heart diseases

Project description

A multiple sclerosis drug for heart failure

Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of death in developed countries with millions of cases in Europe alone. It is associated with decreased blood flow to the heart, which may lead to heart attacks. To address cardiac muscle repair, which is the key problem after a heart attack, the EU-funded ReDHeaD project will test the FDA-approved drug copaxone, which is used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis. Preclinical data demonstrate significant improvement in heart function parameters following copaxone administration. Researchers will prepare for clinical trials to validate the efficacy of the drug in humans and undertake all the necessary regulatory and commercialisation activities for its rapid clinical translation.


Coronary Heart Disease (CHD) and particularly Myocardial Infarction (MI), i.e. heart attack, is the leading cause of death in the Western world today. The main cause for CHD is the incapacity of the mammalian heart to undergo regeneration after injury. Current therapies are not able to address the central problem of decreased pumping capacity that results from the depleted pool of cardiac muscle cells. The outcome of this shortcoming is grim; nearly half of all patients with heart failure die within five years of the initial diagnosis.
We have tested a widely used FDA approved drug, Copaxone, which is used to treat Multiple Sclerosis, for its efficacy in heart repair and made a breakthrough discovery. Copaxone improved cardiac function and reduced scarring in a mouse MI model. Most of the treated mice (85%) responded to the treatment, exhibiting an average improvement of 44% in heart function parameters, along with 40% reduction in scar size.
In this PoC, we will expand these experiments by testing Copaxone using a chronic heart failure (CHF) model in both small and large animals (rats, pigs), and determine the optimal dosage regimen. Based on positive findings in this PoC, we plan to pursue Phase II clinical trials. The suggested activities include the preparation of the commercialization by interacting with key opinion leaders (e.g. cardiologists), who are in the position to speed up the clinical translation. We will also interact with pharma companies to build a potential collaborator and customer network. Eventually, we aim at commercializing repurposing existing drug to treat heart diseases, for CHF or acute MI indications. The impact of such therapy would be vast: CHD is the most common cause of death in Europe, accounting for 1.8 million deaths each year. As the original drug was already successfully commercialized by our institute, we can build on this experience and have the treatment available in approximately 5-6 years.


Net EU contribution
€ 150 000,00
Herzl street 234
7610001 Rehovot

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Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
No data

Beneficiaries (1)