Calgary, Alberta–(Newsfile Corp. – August 5, 2021) – Marvel Biosciences Corp. (TSXV: MRVL) and its wholly owned subsidiary, Marvel Biotechnology Inc. (collectively the Company or Marvel“), is pleased to provide an update on its lead compound asset MB-204 (“MB-204”) being developed for neurological conditions such as depression and anxiety, Alzheimer’s and ADHD. Marvel’s compound is a novel patented fluorinated derivative of the US-FDA approved Parkinson’s disease drug Istradefylline (Nourianz®). Both Istradefylline and MB-204 are highly active derivatives of caffeine, which act as antagonists of the adenosine A2a receptor (“A2aR”). Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychoactive drug in the world and has been associated with a reduced risk for developing Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease and improving concentration.

The Company has observed the following key pre-clinical properties of its lead asset MB-204:

  • The compound is an antagonist of A2aR with a consistently similar in vitro IC50 as Istradefylline (75 vs 67 nM respectively);
  • The compound has a very favourable oral pharmacokinetic profile in mice with a higher bioavailability (56% vs 30.9%) and longer half life than Istradefylline (2.9 vs 2.2 hours), the latter property confirmed by in vivo brain receptor occupancy studies (p<0.01);
  • Demonstrated a clear dose dependent reduction in immobility time (p<0.0001) in a forced swim test model of depression at doses that did not trigger an increase in general locomotive activity;
  • In a head-to-head study with Istradefylline conducted in an elevated plus model of anxiety, MB-204 exhibited a superior anti-anxiety profile;
  • A slightly better toxicity profile (lower liver enzymes, ALT and AST) and lower creatinine levels than Istradefylline in a sub-chronic dosing experiment.

This data in totality suggests MB-204 could be dosed as a once-a-day oral agent, possessing an attractive profile for central nervous system (“CNS”) diseases involving A2aR.

“We based our molecule MB-204 off Istradefylline, the only US-FDA clinically approved A2aR antagonist, making logical changes to the original molecule to retain activity, but improve other qualities such as oral bioavailability” said Dr. Mark Williams, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Marvel. “The results we have received so far in our pre-clinical studies are highly encouraging and gives us a high degree of confidence in potential applications of MB-204 in helping a growing number of patients suffering from neurological diseases, such as depression and Alzheimer’s disease. In our studies we saw that not only did our compound bind to the right target in the brain, the A2aR receptor, but a high concentration of it was able to enter the brain upon oral consumption and its effect lasted longer than Istradefylline.”

“Our goal is to develop an asset that may have multiple applications,” said Rod Matheson, Chief Executive Officer of Marvel. “We like to describe MB-204 as a ‘pipeline in a product’ as it may have more than one central nervous system indication, and it may also have applications outside neurological diseases such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (“NASH”) and cancer. We believe by having more than one, unrelated disease MB-204 can go after, the Company de-risks the development of this asset.”

Marvel previously announced on July 21, 2021 that the Company had entered into a current good manufacturing process (cGMP) manufacturing agreement with Zhejiang Ausun Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (“Ausun”) for the supply of its lead asset MB-204 for GLP pre-clinical toxicology studies and clinical trials.

About Marvel Biosciences Corp.

Marvel Biosciences Corp., and its wholly owned subsidiary, Marvel Biotechnology Inc., is a Calgary-based biotechnology company that utilizes a “drug redevelopment” approach to drug development. Historically, when a new class of drug is developed, it is optimized for a particular target, but typically only approved for a specific disease. Often, a new disease is identified which involves the same target, however, pending the remaining patent life, the originally approved drug may not have sufficient time left for it to be commercially viable to be developed for the new disease indication. Marvel develops new synthetic chemical derivatives of the original approved drug for the new disease indication. Patent protection is sought as the new potential asset is developed by the Company. The Company believes the business model results in significantly less risk, cost and time to develop its assets compared to traditional biotechnology companies.

Marvel Biotechnology Inc. has currently developed several new chemical entities, using synthetic chemical derivatives of known, off-patent drugs, that inhibit the A2a adenosine receptor with application to neurological diseases (depression & anxiety, Alzheimer’s, ADHD), and the non-neurological conditions of cancer and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis. Marvel is also exploring additional undisclosed targets to expand its asset pipeline.

Contact Information

Investor Relations:
Virtus Advisory Group
Tel: 416-644-5081


Marvel Biosciences Corp.
Dr. Mark Williams, President and Chief Science Officer
Tel: 403-770-2469


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All information contained in this news release with respect to the Company and its subsidiary, (collectively, the “Parties”) were supplied by Marvel, respectively, for inclusion herein and each parties’ directors and officers have relied on each other for any information concerning such Party.

This news release may contain forward-looking statements and other statements that are not historical facts. Forward-looking statements are often identified by terms such as “will”, “may”, “should”, “anticipate”, “expects” and similar expressions. All statements other than statements of historical fact, included in this release, including, without limitation, statements regarding the future plans and objectives of the Company are forward-looking statements that involve risks and uncertainties. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate and actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the expectations of the Company and include other risks detailed from time to time in the filings made by the Company under securities regulations.

The reader is cautioned that assumptions used in the preparation of any forward-looking information may prove to be incorrect. Events or circumstances may cause actual results to differ materially from those predicted, as a result of numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors, many of which are beyond the control of the Company. As a result, the Company cannot guarantee that the above events on the terms will occur and within the time disclosed herein or at all. The reader is cautioned not to place undue reliance on any forward-looking information. Such information, although considered reasonable by management at the time of preparation, may prove to be incorrect and actual results may differ materially from those anticipated. Forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by this cautionary statement. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are made as of the date of this news release and the Company will update or revise publicly any of the included forward-looking statements as expressly required by Canadian securities law.