KINGSTON, ON, Jan. 13, 2015 /CNW/ - National Research Council of Canada (NRC) has granted KalGene Pharmaceuticals an exclusive worldwide license for a therapeutic molecule against Alzheimer's disease. As life expectancy rises worldwide, Alzheimer's is becoming an increasingly lethal disease, placing enormous strain on caregivers and healthcare systems. With over 500,000 patients in Canada alone, the current cost of dementia care is over $15 billion dollars a year; as the baby boomer generation ages, costs are expected to rise to over $150 billion annually by 2038.
The therapeutic molecule licensed to KalGene Pharmaceuticals, targets amyloid beta plaques, which are abnormal clusters of protein fragments that build up between brain nerve cells. These clusters are considered prime suspects in the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease.
Getting the molecule past the blood-brain barrier to the site of disease is crucial. To accomplish this, the molecule will be coupled with NRC's carrier antibodies, which act like Trojan horses to shuttle the molecule past the barrier and into the brain. Once inside, the molecule binds to amyloid beta and prevents it from aggregating into clumps; it is then cleared from the brain, taking with it the harmful deposits.
"We believe that NRC's molecule, coupled with their carriers, could enable the development of a disease modifying drug to fight Alzheimer's," says KalGene CEO, Dr. T. Nathan Yoganathan. The conjugated therapy has already shown promising results in Alzheimer's disease models. KalGene will continue advancing the treatment through preclinical testing toward testing in patients.
"We are committed to co-developing new treatments with NRC against diseases that have traditionally been difficult to treat," says Dr. Yoganathan. "This license agreement brings new treatments one step closer to people living with Alzheimer's."
Development of Alzheimer's therapies requires reliable identification of early stage disease. KalGene is collaborating with the Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization (CIMTEC) and the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University to access the most advanced diagnostic techniques.
"Validating this new Canadian-developed Alzheimer's therapy with the best imaging technology available will be an exciting development for clinicians who must manage this disease today without effective treatments," says McGill neurologist Dr. Rosa-Neto MD, Ph.D.
SOURCE Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization (CIMTEC)
Image with caption: "At age 65, the estimated lifetime risk for a woman to develop Alzheimer's disease is 1 in 6, compared to 1 in 11 for a man. (CNW Group/Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization (CIMTEC))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20150113_C5366_PHOTO_EN_10152.jpg
For further information: Dr. T. Nathan Yoganathan, [email protected], 1-613-770-2638, KalGene Pharmaceuticals Inc., Innovation Park at Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada