World Alzheimer's Day: Cracking the Code

A Growing Challenge

Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a relentless degenerative brain condition and the leading cause of dementia presents an escalating global health challenge. The Alzheimer’s Association reports that over 6 million Americans currently grapple with AD, with projections anticipating a staggering rise to nearly 13 million by 2050, reemphasizing the pressing need for innovative solutions. 

While there are some approved treatments that have come through over the last few years, they’ve been overshadowed by skepticism. Biogen’s “aducanumab” sparked controversy upon receiving it’s stamp of approval from the FDA. Between two phase 3 trials with contradictory results, and doubts surrounding toxicity at therapeutic dosages, the biopharma world isn’t satisfied.

In the pursuit of transformative treatments, we turn our focus to the pioneering efforts of emerging biotech companies. VersaPeutics, Spinogenix, and ProMIS Neurosciences, each at the forefront of Alzheimer’s research, are dedicated to ushering in a new era of hope for patients and their families. Join us as we explore their groundbreaking work in the battle against Alzheimer’s Disease. 


VersaPeutics (CA,US)

Headquartered at the Biovista Life Science Campus in San Diego, VersaPeutics is a biotech startup dedicated to developing treatments for nervous system disorders, namely, Alzheimer’s, spinal cord injury, and neuropathic pain. As a testament to their pioneering research, they were the recipients of two Phase 1 SBIR grants to help them move toward the clinic. 

The first (July 28, 2022) was awarded by the National Institute of Aging and totaled $498,534. The project is focused on conducting preclinical studies to assess the feasibility of antibody-based therapeutics designed to combat Alzheimer’s disease. More specifically, it looks at pharmacokinetics, efficacy, toxicity, and toxicokinetics. 

The second (September 14, 2023) totaled $489,628 and was also awarded by the National Institute of Aging. As part of this project, they’ll be performing IND-enabling studies focused on investigating the pharmacokinetic and pharmacology profiles of their lead drug candidate. Banking on positive results, we may see them filing for their first IND sometime in 2024.


ProMIS Neurosciences (ON,CA)

Located in Toronto, Ontario, and Cambridge, Massachusetts, ProMIS boasts a promising preclinical and discovery pipeline of drugs for neurodegenerative disease. Their proprietary drug discovery engines (ProMIS™ & Collective Coordinates) employ computational discovery technologies to predict and identify toxic misfolded proteins that play pivotal roles in the development and progression of such diseases. 

ProMIS employs the precision antibody approach in its drug development strategy, including its lead candidate (PMN310), which aims to combat Alzheimer’s Disease. On another exciting note, the Canadian biotech recently closed a private investment in public equity (PIPE) financing, worth $20.4 million, bringing them to a total of $54.9M in funding since 2021. The funds from the PIPE financing will primarily be used to advance the clinical development of PMN310.

Below are overviews of ProMIS’ preclinical and drug discovery pipelines. Plenty of exciting programs to watch over the coming years!

Spinogenix (CA, US)

Unlike the more common approach of slowing neurodegeneration, this San Diego biotech is taking the road less traveled and is focused on regenerating synapses to reverse the effects of neurodegeneration. Spinogenix hopes to be the first to bring a synaptic regenerative therapy in Alzheimer’s disease to patients with their lead program SPG302 (small molecule). 

After successfully launching their first-ever in-human trial in Australia, they announced the receipt of their second NIH grant, worth $3 million. Spinogenix has now raised $14.5M since 2021 and hopes to give those watching a reason to make that number grow some more. SPG302 is a once-a-day tablet whereas antibody therapies require IV infusions, making it more convenient for patients.

If that wasn’t enough, SPG302 is also the first synaptic regenerative medicine to be tested in ALS, and the hope is for it to help restore memory and motor functions in many other neurodegenerative diseases.  


Ending on the Note of Progress

Alzheimer’s disease, an ever-looming shadow cast on global health, demands a relentless pursuit of innovative solutions. With millions affected today and projections painting a sobering picture of the future, the urgency for transformative treatments is clear. 

In the midst of skepticism surrounding existing therapies, we prefer taking the optimistic route by turning our attention to support small, and large biopharma organizations working relentlessly to turn the tables. VersaPeutics, ProMIS Neurosciences, Spinogenix, and hundreds more have their sights set on beating this cruel disease. Who knows, maybe we’ll be writing about a groundbreaking cure this time next year. 

Zymewire users can track biotech and pharma companies developing therapies to combat Alzheimer’s on this feed.


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