Probiodrug Obtains Additional US Patent for the Inhibition of the Enzyme Glutaminyl Cyclase (QC) to Treat CNS Diseases
Probiodrug Further Expands Scientific Advisory Board by Appointing Prof Dr Dr hc Christian Haass
Halle/Saale, June 17, 2010 – Probiodrug AG (Probiodrug), a biotech company developing novel concepts and products for the treatment of neurodegenerative and inflammatory diseases with a particular focus on Alzheimer’s disease, today announced the appointment of Prof Dr Lennart Mucke to the Company’s Scientific Advisory Board. Prof Dr Mucke is Director of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease in San Francisco, CA (USA) and only recently received the prestigious Potamkin Prize of the American Academy of Neurology.
Prof Dr Mucke’s main areas of research are the pathogenesis and treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, in particular the neural processes underlying cognitive functions and the pathobiology of amyloid proteins, tau and apolipoprotein E. Other areas of his expertise cover the dissection of complex neuropathogenic pathways in transgenic animal models and the development and preclinical assessment of novel therapeutic strategies.
As a major long-term goal, Prof Mucke is looking to advance the understanding of the nervous system so that rational treatments or cures can be developed for some of the most devastating neurological conditions. It is known that in human neurodegenerative disorders homologues of molecules affected by genetic alterations are expressed in high abundance in the CNS, including the amyloid precursor protein (APP), a-synuclein (SYN), tau, and apolipoprotein (apo) E. These proteins or their breakdown products assume abnormal conformations that result in neurotoxicity and in the accumulation of protein aggregates within neural cells and tissues. Understanding the mechanism of these detrimental protein assemblies might allow for better treatments of the most common neurodegenerative disorders. Determining the functions of the beneficial variants of these proteins is of fundamental neuroscientific and therapeutic interest.
Prof Mucke’s group has not only elucidated the role of amyloid beta (Aß) in several neurodegenerative processes at the molecular and cellular level, but it has also been able to prevent these processes as well as Aß-induced cognitive impairments in transgenic mice by modulating proteins that regulate neuronal activity. These results demonstrate that the brain can develop a strong resistance against Aß by certain interventions.
“We are very pleased that Prof Mucke has joined our scientific advisory board,” commented Prof Dr Hans-Ulrich Demuth, Chief Scientific Officer of Probiodrug AG. “His comprehensive knowledge in the molecular biology of Alzheimer’s disease and his outstanding expertise in generating transgenic animal models to elucidate the complex pathways in neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, will be very valuable for Probiodrug.”
“We very much welcome Prof Dr Mucke to the team,” said Prof Dr A Kleemann, Chairman of Probiodrug’s Scientific Advisory Board and former CSO of the German pharma company Asta Medica. “Probiodrug has established a strong pharma discovery unit and its intense MedChem, profiling and ADME efforts have generated potent compounds. For the ongoing preclinical and future clinical testing of the drug candidates, Prof Dr Mucke’s expertise in Alzheimer’s Disease will be extremely valuable.”
Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is characterized by the accumulation of neurotoxic plaques in the brain of AD patients. It has been discovered by Probiodrug that Aß peptides carrying an N-terminal pyroglutamic residue are prone to form seeds of the depositions. These modified peptides are formed through a hitherto unknown catalytic activity of the enzyme glutaminyl cyclase (QC). Based on these findings, Probiodrug has developed a novel therapeutic concept for AD involving small molecule inhibitors of QC.
About Probiodrug AG
Probiodrug is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of innovative small molecule drugs for the treatment of neuronal and inflammatory diseases. In these areas, Probiodrug is validating new targets with the prospect of first and best in class therapeutics. The Company has a dominant position in the area of glutaminyl cyclase (QC) inhibition, an enzyme emerging with a crucial role in the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and various additional inflammatory conditions. In addition, the Company is pursuing further novel approaches in the area of inflammatory diseases.
Probiodrug’s core expertise is based on its long-standing, unique experience with the structure and function elucidation of enzymes which play a central role in the maturation of hormones. The Company has pioneered the field of DP4-inhibition for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Compounds and technology patents of its DP4 (dipeptidyl peptidase 4) program in diabetes were licensed to various pharmaceutical companies. In 2004, all metabolic assets were sold to (OSI) Pharmaceuticals Ltd. The first drug based on Probiodrug`s technologies reached the market in late 2006. Proceeds of the various transactions have been reinvested to fund the novel approach for the treatment of AD.
The Company was founded in 1997 by Prof Dr Hans-Ulrich Demuth and Dr Konrad Glund. It had previously raised a total of US$52 million, excluding the current round, and achieved attractive financial returns to investors. In 2007, the company acquired Ingenium Pharmaceuticals AG; Hendrik Liebers joined the company as CFO the same year. Probiodrug is located in Halle (Saale), Germany, and operates a subsidiary in Martinsried/Munich, Germany. For more information, please visit www.probiodrug.de.
Prof Dr Hans-Ulrich Demuth
Vice-CEO and CSO
D-06120 Halle/ Saale
Tel.: +49 345 55599-00
Fax: +49 345 55599-01
Dr Ludger Weß
Saseler Loge 6b
Tel.: +49 40 88 16 59 64
Fax: +49 40 88 16 59 65