Stroke is the leading cause of adult disability in the developed world and affects approximately 33 million patients worldwide, with an estimated 17 million people suffering a first stroke each year. Stroke generates tremendous direct and indirect costs, with total cost estimates beyond $100 billion a year for Europe and the United States combined. Notably, the global burden is increasing.
Stroke can be caused by a clot obstructing blood flow to the brain (ischemic stroke; >80% of cases) or when weakened blood vessels in the brain rupture and bleed (hemorrhagic stroke). Recovery from stroke and the specific symptoms affected depend on the size and location of the stroke. Although the mean age for stroke is above 70, it can occur at any age and the proportion of stroke in people younger than 65 years is substantial.
Removal of the vessel occluding blood clot by thrombolysis or thrombectomy has been shown to reduce the incidence of disability in subjects after ischemic stroke, but only if administered in the first few hours after the incident. This therapy is the only approved medicine for stroke to date. It can only be applied to a limited number of stroke victims (<10%) and the mainstay of stroke treatment is rehabilitation therapy. Despite available acute care treatment and rehabilitation therapies, more than half of the patients remain severely and permanently disabled. There is a large unmet medical need for these hundreds of thousands affected individuals, many of which lose their independent lives and are forced to live in nursing homes.
No pharmacological therapy has addressed subacute or chronic stroke so far. NovaGo’s lead antibody program targeting the neurite growth inhibitor Nogo-A represents a novel approach to promote the central nervous system’s regenerative healing process and neurological recovery. The time window for the anti-Nogo-A therapy extends from subacute (days after the stroke) to weeks or even months in animal models.