Halle (Saale) / Germany / Probiodrug AG
Probiodrug AG announced today the expansion of the Scientific Advisory Board of the company and the appointment of Dr. Takaomi Saido to the Probiodrug Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Saido is Head of the Laboratory for Proteolytic Neuroscience at the RIKEN Brain Science Institute in Tokyo, Japan.
The main areas of interest of Dr. Saido are the analysis of Aβ-degrading mechanisms in brain, establishment of animal models for human brain aging and the investigation of the role of cellular proteases in aging-associated pathological changes.
In particular, the aim of Dr. Saido’s research is to understand the mechanism of brain aging with specific emphasis on the study Alzheimer’s disease (AD) through proteolysis. Proteolytic reactions often play critical roles in both physiological and pathological circumstances because of their irreversible nature, but their actual in vivo functions particularly in brain are not yet well understood. Among the various aspects of protease involvement in neuropathophysiology, Dr. Saido’s research focuses on two major themes. One is the metabolism of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ), the cortical deposition of which triggers the pathological cascade leading to AD. Under physiological conditions, Aβ is constantly produced from its precursor and immediately catabolized, whereas dysmetabolism of Aβ seems to lead to pathological deposition upon aging. By elucidating the mechanism of Aβ metabolism, Dr. Saido’s group intends to establish a new approach to prevent AD development by reducing Aβ burdens in aging brains. The group also began to establish a novel amyloid imaging approach using a high-power microMRI. The other objective of Dr. Saido’s research is to define the roles of intracellular proteases, calpains and caspases, in the processes of neuronal dysfunction and degeneration in AD and other neurodegenerative diseases.
“We are very pleased that Dr. Saido has joined our board”, commented Dr. Hans-Ulrich Demuth, Chief Executive Officer of Probiodrug AG. “Dr. Saido’s experience in connecting the fields of protease science and neurodegenerative diseases will be invaluable for Probiodrug to foster our new business initiative for the development of novel and revolutionary treatments of Alzheimer’s Disease.”
Alzheimer’s dementia is a chronically progressive neurodegenerative disease. The key protein in the pathophysiology of AD is the amyloid precursor protein (APP) which releases the amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) by proteolytic cleavage. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by a substantial degeneration of pyramidal neurons and the appearance of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.
Probiodrug AG is a drug discovery company with a focus on distinct proteins as innovative drug targets. The company endeavors to identify new orally active compounds for selectively modifying enzymatic activity in order to derive therapeutic effects in gastrointestinal, neuronal and autoimmune disorders. Probiodrug actively pursues patent protection for its lead and back-up compounds as well as for fundamental treatment technologies in various indications.
Probiodrug has a proven track record. With 1 out-licensed and 1 sold Phase IIa product candidate and 2 granted non-exclusive licenses under the Medical Use Patents to major pharmaceutical companies, the company has generated an impressive track record in delivering innovative drugs and in successful commercialization. The first out-licensing agreement with Merck & Co., Inc. included besides an upfront payment, milestone payments and royalties also a significant equity stake. The sale of the second Phase IIa product to OSIP/Prosidion was a frontloaded deal comprising an upfront payment of $ 35m as well as milestone payments. In course of this transaction, Probiodrug entered into a Research Agreement, which is funding the company over 2,5 years and is also royalty bearing. The two granted non-exclusive licenses to Novartis and Johnson & Johnson/Ferring generated upfront payments. Strategic alliances were concluded by Probiodrug for the development of new treatments for Multiple Sclerosis with Synt:em SA, Nimes, France in 2002 and with Morphochem AG, a Munich based Biotech company, for the development of new treatments for Anxiety disorders in 2004. Probiodrug focuses now on early events of neurodegeneration.
Hans-Ulrich Demuth, Ph.D.
Chief Executive Officer
D-06120 Halle (Saale)
Tel.: +49 345 55599-00
Fax: +49 345 55599-01