A Lexington company which holds development and commercialization rights to technology patented by MIT has reported significant improvement in the recovery of stroke patients treated with citicoline.
Interneuron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., reported that patients who received 500 milligrams of the drug were more than twice as likely to show minimal or no disability 12 weeks after suffering a stroke as patients who were given a placebo. There were 259 patients in the study.
Richard J. Wurtman, MD, a professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and director of the Clinical Research Center, discovered citicoline's ability to increase the production of brain membranes and acetycholine. Stroke-damaged nerve cells must manufacture new membrane elements to normalize brain function. Dr. Wurtman, the Cecil H. Green Distinguished Professor at MIT, proposed the use of citicoline for a variety of conditions. MIT patented his discoveries and licensed them to Grupo Ferrer, a Spanish pharmaceutical company.
In 1993, Ferrer granted Interneuron exclusive development and commercialization rights in the United States and Canada. Dr. Wurtman is the scientific founder of Interneuron.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on March 6, 1996.