Intellect Neurosciences, Inc. (OTCBB:ILNS), a biopharmaceutical company engaged in the discovery and development of disease-modifying therapeutic agents for the treatment of Alzheimer's and other neurological diseases, today announced two new programs in its Alzheimer's disease development pipeline. The new programs are based on two antibodies that target early neurotoxic forms of tau protein, which Intellect intends to develop for therapeutic and diagnostic uses.
Through an exclusive license obtained from Northwestern University, the company intends to develop and commercialize two proprietary antibodies, tauC3 and TOC-1, each of which targets certain abnormal forms of tau protein that are implicated in the nerve cell death that is characteristic to Alzheimer's disease and other tauopathies. The monoclonal antibodies were developed by Professor Lester Binder, Ph.D., the Abbott Laboratories, Duane and Susan Burnham Research Professor of Genetic and Molecular Medicine, at Northwestern University.
"Obtaining these two antibodies is a logical next step in positioning ourselves as a leader in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, as they add to our current approaches, which target tau proteins to develop new therapies for Alzheimer's disease. We intend to aggressively pursue the development of both antibodies, each of which has potential application in treating several diseases beyond Alzheimer's, including various orphan indications," said Dr. Daniel G. Chain, Chairman and CEO, Intellect Neurosciences. "Professor Binder has significantly advanced our understanding of Alzheimer's disease and related neurodegenerative diseases by generating these antibodies, which selectively target the most pathogenic forms of tau. As a result, they have permitted the identification of irreversible steps that occur at the earliest stages in these neurological diseases, making them optimal targets for early diagnostic purposes, for immunotherapeutic intervention strategies, and for measuring drug effectiveness. We believe this will be viewed as a valuable acquisition for Intellect Neurosciences."
Hyperphosphorylated neurofibrillary tangles, composed of insoluble aggregates of the microtubule-associated protein tau, are a pathological hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. However, recent evidence indicates neuronal dysfunction precedes the formation of these insoluble fibrillar deposits, suggesting that earlier prefibrillar tau proteins are neurotoxic. TauC3 is a monoclonal antibody that specifically targets a neoepitope that is formed following the cleavage of intact tau protein by enzymes known as "executioner" caspases to yield the smaller delta tau, which has a higher capacity to aggregate. This pathological process is stimulated by an accumulation of amyloid beta in the brain of Alzheimer's patients. TOC-1 is a monoclonal antibody that specifically targets a neoepitope present in neurotoxic oligomeric forms of the tau protein as reported by Professor Binder's group in a research article entitled "Characterization of Prefibrillar Tau Oligomers in Vitro and in Alzheimer Disease," published in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol .286,NO.26, pp.23063–23076, July1, 2011.
In exchange for the exclusive license, Intellect Neurosciences will make certain payments to Northwestern University upon the achievement of designated clinical and regulatory milestones and pay royalties on future potential drug sales.
Intellect Neurosciences, Inc.