Biotech Strategy Blog

Commentary on Science, Innovation & New Products with a focus on Oncology, Hematology & Cancer Immunotherapy

Posts tagged ‘biotech consultant’

Although I had to leave BIO 2011 early due to illness, I did shoot some video during the time I was at the meeting, and have now put this together into a short 2 minute video that you can watch below.

This post wraps up my coverage of the 2011 BIO international convention in Washington DC. Next week, I’ll be writing more about innovative science and new products in the pipeline that have caught my attention.

A happy holiday weekend to everyone in North America.

As those of you who have been following my conference schedule already know, I will be at Health Journalism 2011 in Philadelphia later this week.  The annual meeting of the Association of Health Care Journalists (AHCJ) runs from April 14-17.

It’s my first time at an AHCJ conference, and in my first video blog post I have shared why I am going and what I hope to obtain from the meeting.

Some of the expert sessions that I am particularly looking forward to are on:

Spotting fraud in scientific research (moderated by Ivan Oransky, M.D. executive editor, Reuters Health; blogger, Retraction Watch and Embargo Watch)

Efforts to revive the drug delivery pipeline (moderated by Ed Silverman, editor-at-large, Med Ad News and R&D Directions)

Understanding nanotechnology’s role in fighting cancer (moderated by Eric Rosenthal, special correspondent, Oncology Times)

Best practices in blogging and social media (moderated by Scott Hensley, health blog writer and editor, National Public Radio)

As William Heisel states in an excellent blog post on Reporting on Health, the journalism stars have come out for ACHJ Health Journalism conference in Philadelphia. I am looking forward to an exciting and informative meeting. Hope to see you there.

 

Earlier this month the Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF) announced that Vancouver based Allon Therapeutics had been able to improve motor function and brain pathology in a mouse model of Parkinson’s disease (PD).

MJFF funded this research with Allon Therapeutics. The preclinical study results are published in the Journal of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience.

What makes this data interesting is that it adds further support to the potential efficacy of the company’s lead product, davunetide, in a wide range of neurodegenerative disorders.

Davunetide (AL-108) is a microtubule-interacting peptide based on an eight amino acid sequence, Asn-Ala-Pro-Val-Ser-Ile-Pro-Gln, single letter code NAPVSIPQ (NAP) derived from activity-dependent neuroprotective protein (ADNP). It has been shown to have neuroprotective properties.

Davunetide can be administered by IV or intranasally and crosses the blood/brain barrier. It is effective at promoting neurite growth, restoring transmission between nerve cells and untangling some of the damage seen in neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. References to the scientific publications and mechanism of action can be found on the Allon Therapeutics website.

Currently it is being developed for Alzheimer’s disease (AD), schizophrenia cognitive impairment and frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Davunetide is in a phase 3 clinical trial for progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), a subtype of FTD.

The company’s strategy is to pursue a fast-track to market in a small indication such as PSP. This is makes a lot of sense for a small biotechnology company with limited funding.  Successful approval in PSP will significantly increase the value of the company and improve the terms of any future licensing/partnering deals.

The hope for davunetide is that it will prevent disease progression in disorders such as AD and provide neuroprotective prophylaxisis prior to surgery that carries a high risk of memory loss e.g. heart bypass and coronary artery graft surgery (CABG).

While davunetide may not be a cure for AD, being able to slow down disease progression is something that has considerable value.  Given that new imaging biomarkers are likely to provide the opportunity to detect AD much earlier, the market opportunity for early treatment is set to increase.

Many families and caregivers would welcome a drug that delays further cognitive decline and memory loss in their loved ones.

On the basis of the promising preclinical results, I think we can expect to see further clinical research on davenutide in Parkinson’s Disease.

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