The University of Colorado and AmideBio LLC have completed an agreement giving AmideBio exclusive rights to commercialize drug candidates for Alzheimer's disease discovered at CU's Boulder campus.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia in the U.S., and the fifth-leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older. An estimated 5.3 million Americans of all ages have the disease, which typically begins with gradual memory loss; people with advanced Alzheimer's often are unable to perform basic activities such as dressing and eating without assistance. In the final stages, patients are unable to communicate or recognize family members, and require constant care. The disease is ultimately fatal, often by causing pneumonia.
Current treatments address the symptoms of Alzheimer's, but do not target the underlying disease. A CU research group led by Michael Stowell, Ph.D., an associate professor of molecular, cellular and developmental biology, recently discovered a novel molecular target that is disrupted and degraded very early in the disease; the team believes that strategies to prevent the disruption and degradation of this target could prove critical in effectively treating the disease at an early stage.
Stowell's group is currently pursuing a new class of drugs that will prevent the disruption and degradation of this target and hopes to begin testing efficacy in the coming year.
"We are happy to execute this second licensing agreement with CU,"' said Misha Plam, AmideBio's president and CEO. "The novel approach to treating Alzheimer's disease discovered by Dr. Stowell's group has great potential, and we are proud to become part of the community working to understand this disease and searching for its cure."
Boulder-based AmideBio also has licensed a method developed by Stowell for manufacturing recombinant proteins and peptides (molecules which are similar to proteins but smaller); AmideBio and CU have an ongoing research collaboration in this area. "We are excited about the prospects for AmideBio," said Tom Smerdon, director of Licensing and New Business Development at CU's Technology Transfer Office. "The company combines a top scientific mind and an accomplished entrepreneur, two important ingredients for success."