Cayman Receives SBIR Grant for Alzheimer’s Research

ANN ARBOR, MI, October 8, 2020 — The National Institute on Aging (NIA) has awarded Cayman Chemical with a Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to develop an assay platform and novel antibodies to support the treatment, prevention, and early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies.

Tauopathies are a group of neurodegenerative disorders sharing a common pathology of tau protein in the central nervous system. The more prominent tauopathy affecting nearly six million Americans is Alzheimer’s disease. Clinical manifestation of the disease correlates with the spatiotemporal distribution of neuronal and glial inclusions of abnormally phosphorylated tau (p-tau). “Animal and cell studies demonstrated that soluble, oligomeric p-tau are toxic to the cells and can be transmitted between cells in a prion-like fashion,” said Dr. Inés Morano, Senior Director of Discovery R&D at Cayman. “We seek to facilitate the development of tauopathy treatment and prevention by developing assay kits that support the identification of therapeutics and risk factors of tauopathies.”

During the first phase of this project, a PIMAX system invented by Dr. Min-Hao Kuo at Michigan State University was used to synthesize four isoforms of p-tau bearing a core phosphorylation pattern highly relevant to the disease. Cayman scientists in collaboration with the Kuo laboratory developed kinetic assays of p-tau aggregation and cell-based assays of p-tau cytotoxicity. “The grant will support the commercial development of the assays and also fund the production of antibodies recognizing the pathogenic epitope of p-tau,” said Stephen Barrett, Vice President of R&D and Production at Cayman. 

The grant includes a subaward for Dr. Kuo’s lab at Michigan State University. By integrating complementary and synergistic expertise of teams from industry and academia this SBIR project will have a solid impact on drug development for Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies.

About Cayman Chemical

Cayman Chemical Company helps make research possible by supplying scientists worldwide with biochemical tools used to understand cancer, neurochemistryoxidative injuryendocrinologyatherosclerosis, and other human health challenges. Our scientists are experts in the synthesis, purification, and characterization of biochemicals ranging from small drug-like heterocycles to complex biolipids, fatty acids, and many others for use as research reagents and qualified standards. We are also highly skilled in all aspects of assay and antibody development, protein expression, crystallization, and structure determination. In addition, we offer a wide range of analytical services using LC-MS/MS, HPLC, GC, and many other techniques. Cayman performs generic drug development and production in both Ann Arbor, Michigan and Neratovice, Czech Republic.

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