PARIS, Nov. 6, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- AB Science SA (NYSE Euronext - FR0010557264 - AB), a pharmaceutical company specialized in research, development and marketing of protein kinase inhibitors (PKIs), announces, following the press release from November 4 th, that the acceleration of the clinical development program in ALS is in line with proof of efficacy experiments conducted in two different models that generated positive results of increased survival. Two different animal experiments were conducted by Dr. Luis Barbeito from the Institut Pasteur de Montevideo (Uruguay) and by Dr. Patricia Cassina from the Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de la República, Montevideo. One experiment was aimed at evaluation the effect of masitinib in mice models of ALS (SOD1G93A female mice). Treatment started at 90 days-old animals before symptoms onset and continued until complete paralysis. Assessments were performed at 12 weeks (baseline) and weekly until end stage of paralysis (18-20 weeks). Administration of masitinib significantly delayed age of symptoms onset, improved grip strength and weight loss compared to control animals. Other experiment was aimed at evaluating the effect of masitinib in a transgenic rat model of ALS (SOD1G93A rats). These rats develop a motor syndrome with symptoms and pathological features of the human disease. Animals were observed weekly for onset of disease symptoms, as well as disease progression to death during 12 weeks of treatment. Compared to control, masitinib prolonged the survival of ALS rats, delaying the progression of paralytic symptoms and weight loss, suggesting a protective effect of masitinib in motor neuron diseases. Dr Luis Barbeito explained "Because masitinib can modulate inflammation, there is a scientific rationale to evaluate masitinib in the treatment of ALS. The results from the preclinical experiments are encouraging considering that there is no treatment available to ALS other than riluzole which delays death only few months in humans. Preliminary data indicate that masitinib target glial cells that promote ALS progression. Thus, the positive results showed in the mouse and rat trials raise the possibility that masitinib might offer therapeutic benefits in ALS patients, slowing disease progression".