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The big gamble: Catalyst Pharmaceuticals of Coral Gables bets on new drug for rare disease

Miami Herald


July 18, 2015

About six years ago, Lisa Rountree, 45, a mother of two in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, noticed she had a droopy eye. Soon she felt weak and fatigued around the house and whenever she went out. These symptoms got worse.

“I didn’t have any energy, and moving around was very difficult,” said Rountree, who previously led an active life. The illness became debilitating. She fell several times. Stairs became a challenge: “I even had to use a wheelchair when our family visited Disney World.”

Doctors initially weren’t sure of the cause. But about 2 1/2 years ago, Rountree was diagnosed with Lambert-Eaton Myasthenic Syndrome, or LEMS — a rare and sometimes fatal autoimmune neuromuscular disease that affects about 3,000 to 3,500 people in the United States.

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