Halle (Saale), Germany // Probiodrug AG, a drug development company, has been awarded a €1.9mio grant from the German Federal Department of Education and Research under the BioChancePlus program. The grant will fund a drug-discovery program including the identification and characterization of small-molecule lead compounds for the inhibition of new target proteins potentially involved in the progression of neurodegenerative disorders.
Probiodrug’s CNS-program builds on the company’s patent-protected inhibitors of key enzymes regulating hormone maturation, processing, activity and deactivation in the brain. The program is also based on Probiodrug’s in-house expertise in chemical synthesis, computational chemistry and optimization of small-molecule inhibitors. In addition, the program will bundle key academic expertise from Hannover Medical School, University of Halle and University of Leipzig provided by the teams of Stephan von Hoersten, Gunter Reuter and Steffen Rossner, respectively. The network will also include the crystallization and 3D-structure determination capabilities of Wolfram Bode´s group of Protein Crystallography at the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in Martinsried.
Approximately 12 million people in Europe and the USA suffer from neurodegenerative disorders. There are currently 18 million people with dementia worldwide. This number will rise to 34 million in 25 years time. Despite considerable efforts to develop novel treatments, none has proven being superior to current standard treatments nor providing curing relieve from disastrous progression of the disorders.
Hans-Ulrich Demuth, co-founder and CEO of Probiodrug stated: “We are pleased to have received this highly competitive BioChancePlus grant. It acknowledges Probiodrug’s reputation and success in early stage drug development.” The company recently reported (June 17th 2004) that it successfully sold its DP IV-platform including a Phase II compound for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. More than 30 companies worldwide now explore this technology, pioneered by Probiodrug. “The support of the Department of Education and Research will now facilitate our cooperation in the CNS-field with outstanding academic research institutions in a multi-disciplinary approach.”