New Grant Supports AlzeCure’s Work on Neurorestorative Drug

November 4, 2015

Category: New Grants

AlzeCure Foundation announced today that it has been awarded a grant from the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) to support the further development of its small molecule neurorestorative project. The new drug candidate, currently in late discovery phase, will stimulate multiple neurotrophic signaling pathways in the brain, leading to restoration of neuronal function and improved cognition in Alzheimer’s disease patients.

”It is a great honor that our program has been chosen through the rigorous peer-review process of the ADDF and gives us new opportunities to deliver a new therapy for the benefit of patients. This prestigious grant from the ADDF will fund a unique project aiming to develop a novel and effective medicine that will repair damaged brain tissue and improve neuronal signaling in Alzheimer’s disease patients. We believe that our therapy targets key signaling pathways in the affected brain and that it in an excellent manner complements current leading therapeutic strategies in development aimed at targeting amyloid beta and tau pathologies,” said Jonas Ekstrand, PhD, CEO of the AlzeCure Foundation.

The total number of people with dementia worldwide is estimated at more than 45 million and is projected to nearly double every 20 years. Being the most common form of dementia, Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60-70 percent of all dementia cases. Given that there is currently no treatment on the market that can cure or even alter the progressive course of Alzheimer's, the unmet need is huge. A successful first-on-market disease modifying treatment for patients would therefore have a very large potential value for both patients and payers.

Neurotrophic signaling pathways, such as those mediated by the extracellular factors NGF and BDNF, play pivotal and complimentary roles in neuronal development, differentiation and neurorestoration. Accordingly, these proteins have received large attention for their potential as neurorestorative agents in neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer’s disease. We have identified a number of compounds that exhibit a novel and exciting pharmacological profile, acting as positive allosteric modulators (PAM) of both NGF and BDNF mediated tropomyosin receptor kinase (Trk) signaling. We believe that the pharmacological profile of our leads, in combination with being PAMs rather than pure agonists of neurotrophic signaling, could deliver a novel class of efficacious therapeutics for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.

This grant is proof that the ADDF appreciates a new model for Alzheimer drug discovery, with a co-localized, very close collaboration between AlzeCure’s industrial approach drug discovery researchers and preclinical and clinical researchers at Karolinska Institutet Center for Alzheimer Research. The possibility to potentiate the effects of brain growths factors (NGF and BDNF) through modulation of TrkA and TrkB has the potential to both restore the function of multiple neuronal populations and to reduce the hippocampal atrophy that is characteristic for the disease. This is indeed a unique novel pharmacological approach,” said Bengt Winblad, Professor of Neurogeriatrics, Director of the Karolinska Institutet Center for Alzheimer Research and Member of the Board of Directors at AlzeCure Foundation.

“We were impressed by AlzeCure’s approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease,” said ADDF Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer, Howard Fillit, MD. “The ADDF is committed to supporting such pioneering programs and ensuring they are able to continue development.”