The pharmaceutical company UCB Pharma, manufacturers of the anti-epileptic drug (AED) Keppra, have announced that clinical trials have begun of a new AED.
In data presented to the AED VII Congress in Florida the company claimed that this potential new drug, currently named ucb 34714, is more potent and active than levetiracetam (Keppra) for both partial and generalised epilepsy.
The potential anti-epileptic properties of ucb 34714 were assessed by examining its ability to inhibit kindling in mice. Kindling is a process of making the brain sensitive to repeated electrical stimulation resulting in intensified seizure activity. This results in generalised seizures. The research suggests that inhibition of kindling development may therefore be considered to reflect anti-epileptic properties. Ucb 34714 was shown to have a potent and persistent ability to stop or slow down kindling development.
Dr Thomas Beck, Research and Development Director at UCB Pharma, said:
"The discovery of levetiracetam has lead the way to potential new therapies deriving from the same pharmacological family. At this very early stage, ucb 34714 appears to demonstrate even broad utility across a number of neurological indications, which we will fully explore during clinical development."