Halle (Saale), Germany // Probiodrug AG
Probiodrug AG announced today the expansion of the Scientific Advisory Board of the company and the appointment of Prof. Dr. Thomas Bayer to the Probiodrug Scientific Advisory Board. Prof. Bayer has received his Diploma in Biology at the Universities of Stuttgart (Diploma thesis at the University of Florida). After receiving his Ph.D. in Genetics and Developmental Biology at the Cologne University in 1993, Prof. Bayer held several positions at the Institute of Neuropathology and at the Department of Psychiatry und Psychotherapy of the University of Bonn. In 2000 he received his habilitation in Molecular Neurobiology from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Bonn. In 2004 he was appointed as Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the Saarland University, Germany.
“We are very pleased that Prof. Bayer has joined our board”, commented Dr. Hans-Ulrich Demuth, Chief Executive Officer of Probiodrug AG. “Prof. Bayer’s experience in the field of 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 disease (AD) is a chronically progressive neurodegenerative disease. The key protein in the pathophysiology of AD is the amyloid precursor protein (APP) which releases the amyloid-beta peptide (Abeta) by proteolytic cleavage. Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by a substantial degeneration of pyramidal neurons and the appearance of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles.
One of the major obstacles for the development and testing of new AD treatments are the missing animal models which reflect the human conditions of the disease. Prof. Bayer’s intention is to help filling this gap. His group was recently involved in the characterization of a novel transgenic mouse model that closely mimics the development of AD-related neuropathological features including a significant hippocampal neuronal loss (Casas et al.: Am J Pathol. 2004,165:1289-1300). Moreover, his research focus is also on the metal ion homeostasis of neuronal cells. E.g., significantly reduced Cu levels were found in the brain of AD patients as well as in APP transgenic mouse models. In vivo studies with transgenic mice in Prof. Bayer’s lab revealed that oral Cu supplementation can restore lowered Cu levels in the brain to normal, can reduce Abeta production, and can reduce mortality of the animals. Currently, the influence of oral Cu supplementation (in addition to an established acetylcholinesterase inhibitor) on the progression of the disease is being studied in a prospective, double-blind, randomized and placebo-controlled longitudinal clinical trial in patients with mild AD by a team at the Saarland University around Prof. Bayer’s group (Kessler et al., Nervenarzt 2005, 76:581-585).
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