NervGen Pharma Expands Platform Into Alzheimer’s Disease
NervGen Pharma Corp. recently announced a research initiative to advance its proprietary therapeutic technology platform, currently in development for spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis, to generate new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that destroys memory and cognitive functions, is becoming a healthcare crisis with an estimated 30 million people affected globally including 5.8 million in the US. As AD research and development efforts have failed to produce new effective treatments in the past 15 years, the medical community and pharmaceutical industry are seeking technologies with novel approaches through new targets and pathways.
“NervGen’s platform technology provides an innovative approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease and has received positive affirmation from several Alzheimer’s disease key opinion leaders,” said Bill Radvak, NervGen’s Executive Chairman. “The essence of our technology is that it unlocks a damaged nervous system’s natural ability to repair itself and this could translate to helping people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.”
“NervGen’s platform technology introduces a truly novel approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease,” added George Perry, PhD, the current editor-in-chief for the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease and the Dean of the College of Sciences and Professor of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. “Work that began in the early 90s has confirmed the importance of the biological effect of proteoglycans in the central nervous system. In particular, the ability to shift microglia from the inflammatory phase to the phagocytic or housekeeping phase, as evidenced in both a spinal cord injury and multiple sclerosis model, is promising as it is the natural reparative process for removal of amyloid plaques. This demonstration of an immunomodulatory effect on the microglia will be of specific interest in the quest for a solution to Alzheimer’s disease as the function of the microglia is one of the hot topics in this still evolving story.”
“We remain dedicated to delivering on our clinical program preparing our NVG-291 compound for a Phase 1a study to begin in Q1 2020 followed by a Phase 1b on subsets of both chronic and sub-acute spinal cord patients and a Phase 2 study on multiple sclerosis in 2021. We are excited to expand our platform to Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Ernest Wong, NervGen’s President & CEO. “Chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans (CSPG) are intimately associated with senile plaques and our work with PTPσ knockout mice and other data with chondroitinase all suggest a pivotal role for PTPσ in AD. We will consult with Alzheimer’s disease experts to generate a research and development program for AD with our platform and at the same time increase our business development efforts. Given the novelty of our approach and the potential applications to different disease indications, we believe that the technology should be of strong interest to prospective partners.”
According to the new report on Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures, published online by the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.8 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease – 5.5 million of them aged 65 years and older. By 2025, the number of seniors with Alzheimer’s disease could reach 7.1 million, up nearly 29 percent. The prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease could reach 13.8 million by 2050. The estimated cost in 2019 of caring for Americans with Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias is $277 billion – and that does not include unpaid caregiving. Of that amount, $186 billion is the cost to Medicare and Medicaid, and $60 billion is for out-of-pocket costs. Alzheimer’s disease is currently ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, but recent estimates indicate that the disease may rank third, just behind heart disease and cancer, as a cause of death for seniors.
The body produces a scar at sites of physical injury such as a spinal cord injury as well as sites of inflammatory damage from neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease. The purpose of the scar is to encapsulate the site of the injury to prevent further damage but it ultimately inhibits the body’s reparative mechanisms. The co-inventor of NervGen’s technology, Dr. Jerry Silver, Professor of Neurosciences at Case Western Reserve University’s School of Medicine, discovered that a constituent of these scars, a protein called CSPG, inhibits the body’s natural ability to regrow and regenerate. NervGen’s technology platform removes this inhibition and, via multiple endogenous repair mechanisms, unlocks the nervous system’s ability to repair itself in a manner adapted to the site of injury and type of disease. Numerous repair mechanisms, including regeneration, plasticity and remyelination, have been observed in the various animal models such as stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, cardiac arrhythmia and peripheral nerve injury as reported in over a dozen peer reviewed papers.
NervGen is restoring life’s potential by creating innovative solutions for the treatment of nerve damage and neurodegenerative diseases. The Company is developing drugs for both spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis and Alzheimer’s disease.
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