Non-Calcemic Vitamin D Analogs for Multiple Sclerosis

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing novel compounds for the prevention or treatment of multiple sclerosis.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex and unpredictable disease of the central nervous system. MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the myelin that insulates the nerves in the brain and spinal cord. When myelin is damaged, the transmission of messages between the brain, spinal cord and body is slowed or blocked, leading to diminished or lost function.

No cure for MS has been developed. Several therapies, including anti-inflammatory steroids, naturally occurring antiviral proteins known as interferons and immunosuppressive agents, have shown some promise for the treatment of MS symptoms. However, these treatments are associated with adverse side effects and are not effective for all patients.

The hormonally active form of vitamin D, known as calcitriol or 1,25 dihydroxyvitamin D3, has shown some ability to prevent experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice, a chronic relapsing brain and spinal cord disease that resembles MS. While promising, the concentrations of calcitriol required to achieve this therapeutic effect are likely to cause dose-limiting hypercalcemia and are not suitable for long-term use.

A Novel Approach for Prevention and Treatment: Non-calcemic analogs of calcitriol
At UW–Madison, promising research is underway with several noncalcemic vitamin D analogs that show efficacy in the EAE mouse model. These analogs may provide the solution to the dose limitations of calcitriol by offering a wider dose range and lower potential for causing hypercalcemia and its complications.

Business Opportunity

  • Cure for MS is a large and unmet medical need.
  • More than 350,000 individuals in the U.S. are affected.
  • 200 new cases are diagnosed each week.
  • Annual cost of MS in the U.S. is in the billions of dollars.


  • Prevention and treatment for MS

Key Benefits

  • A proven biologically active compound that may reduce the risk of developing MS or slow the progression of the disease.
  • Provides a safer, less calcemic compound than the natural hormone calcitriol.
  • Offers a fresh therapeutic approach for gaining access to the MS therapy market.
  • Provides a drug development opportunity in a growing market space.
  • Innovative licensing and development terms available.

Stage of Development

The analogs offered in this portfolio have been subjected to in vitro/in vivo models for early-stage preclinical evaluation.

Please contact our office for updates as study data sets may be evolving with compounds under development.

Additional Information

For more information about the inventor, see Hector DeLuca.

Contact Information

Please contact our licensing team at or 608.960.9850 to explore and discuss innovative development pathways that are available to qualified development interests.