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AmyPore gets EU backing for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s therapy

Novel chimeric peptide ready to start clinical trials

amypore

French biotech AmyPore has picked up EU funding to help it progress a peptide drug that it says has potential in treating both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

The company is one of the beneficiaries in the EU’s latest round of Horizon 2020 funding, which provides grants to research and innovation projects through open and competitive calls for proposals, aimed in particular at small and mid-sized enterprises..

The grant will help AmyPore continue the development of a chimeric peptide – discovered and patented by Professors Nouara Yahi and Jacque Fantini of Aix-Marseille University – that works via a different mechanism to the long list of amyloid- and tau-targeting drugs that have so far comprehensively failed to show any significant benefit in neurodegenerative disorders, including most recently Biogen’s aducanumab.

The peptide – called AmyP53 – targets receptors on nerve cells called gangliosides that attract and bind amyloid proteins that are thought to be linked to the pathology of both Alzheimer’s (beta amyloid) and Parkinson’s (alpha synuclein).

Once bound to these gangliosides, the amyloid proteins insert into the cell membrane and assemble into a structure called an “amyloid pore”, triggering an influx of calcium ions and a sequence of molecular evens that lead t the death of the neuron.

Rather than tackling the aggregation of beta amyloid or alpha synuclein directly, AmyPore intends to prevent them interacting with nerve cells and so prompting this neurotoxic cascade by using AmyP53 as a decoy.

The biotech says the peptide consists of a 12 amino acid sequence so is easy to synthesise and scale-up, making it 100-fold cheaper to produce than an immunotherapy, and according to preclinical testing appears to lack the inflammatory properties that have scuppered other drugs targeting amyloid proteins.

AmyPore has already had backing from BPIFrance and the IMPULSE and OneLife incubators, and is trying to raise sufficient funds to take AmyP53 into its first clinical trials.

Article by
Phil Taylor

30th May 2019

From: Research

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