Modulators of Abeta42 synthesis – a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease

Alzecure: double effect on Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s is a fast-growing disease that causes considerable suffering and is an enormous drain on resources. Globally, one person is struck down every third second and there is still no cure or any way to prevent the disease, which will cost society an estimated USD 1 000 billion in 2018.

“If Alzheimer’s disease was an economy, it would currently be the 18th largest in the world”, says Gunnar Nordvall. He has a PhD in Pharmaceutical Chemistry and together with colleagues at AlzeCure Pharma has developed a molecule that prevents the emergence of the Abeta42 peptide and its harmful effect:

“Abeta42 is a long ‘sticky’ peptide that is formed in the brain. What happens is that several Abeta42s clump together and build large accumulations, so-called ‘senile plaques’, in the brain, causing Alzheimer’s.”

Both prevention and treatment

“The ultimate aim is to be able to provide preventive treatment, when it has been established that Abeta42 has begun to clump together, but before any clear symptoms are evident. Our molecule has a modulating effect on an enzyme, so shorter peptides are formed instead of Abeta42. The shorter peptides are also thought to impede the clumping of Abeta42. We therefore get a double effect on Abeta42 aggregation”, states Gunnar Nordvall.

Thanks to the funding from Swelife, the team has carried out a large toxicological study.

“Everything looked good on this. We are now in a pre-clinical development phase and estimate that we can begin working with human subjects in late 2018.”

Possible combination with antibodies

What about the competition? Isn’t research also being conducted on using antibodies against Abeta42?

“We consider that our molecule is preferable. This is not only because it’s extraordinary at treating the root cause of the disease, but also because it achieves this via a mechanism with minimal risk for side effects. Furthermore, it’s far easier to transfer small molecules over to the brain than antibodies. However, our modulator could also be combined with antibodies”, says Gunnar Nordvall.

AlzeCure’s medicinal drug, a tablet that is taken orally and which will be cheaper to produce and simpler to administer than antibodies, could be registered in seven years’ time.

“Before that, clinical phase 1–3 studies are to evaluate the pharmaceutical candidate for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. We have the best and most reliable mechanism and we have a strong team that has worked for decades on pharmaceutical development. We will be looking out for the next call for applications from Swelife, and we will of course apply.”

Uppdated: 23 August 2017

Text: Jörgen Olsson