SYGNIS Pharma AG Strengthens its KIBRA-Project: First Patents Announced for Europe and the USA
Published: May 05, 2011
Dr. Frank Rathgeb, CMO of SYGNIS commented: “We are encouraged to receive the notification from the EPO and the USPTO regarding the issue of our first patents in the field of memory disorders, which is of growing importance. As the clear scientific progress of our KIBRA-project, which we have shown over the past few months via our in vivo “Proof of Principle” studies, also the improved patent position strengthens the overall value of our KIBRA-project and increases awareness amongst potential partners.”
With its KIBRA-program SYGNIS has entered a completely new kind of approach for the development of novel treatments of memory disorders such as dementia. In numerous studies, the direct relationship between the KIBRA gene and the memory performance has been confirmed and shown that the differences in the nucleotide sequence, i.e. the order of the building blocks of the KIBRA gene, has a significant effect on the human memory performance.
Apart from the clinical efficacy trial with AX200 for the treatment of acute stoke (AXIS 2) KIBRA is the second key project in SYGNIS’ pipeline. With this regard, SYGNIS made good progress in developing drugs, which significantly improve memory performance by modulating the KIBRA-pathway in pharmacological therapy. Based on the already established in vitro and in vivo Proof of Principle for the role of KIBRA in learning and memory, SYGNIS has started a screening program, applying one of its proprietary assays, for the identification of suitable compounds, which could have an effect on the KIBRA activity. SYGNIS expects to have the results of the screening program and nominated candidates during the third quarter of 2011. Based on these findings SYGNIS will look to further strengthen its intellectual property position regarding KIBRA in addition to numerous patent applications already filed.
About KIBRA Modulators
Impairment of human memory is a hallmark symptom of many nervous system diseases including Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and traumatic brain injuries. In order to identify genes that have an impact on human memory, US and Swiss researchers carried out a Genome Wide Association Study (GWAS) approach on healthy volunteers. They identified the so-called KIBRA gene, which was originally found in the kidney and brain, to have the largest single effect on episodic human memory performance. The importance of the KIBRA gene for human memory was further confirmed by demonstrating that the KIBRA genotype affects the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and that the KIBRA gene is expressed in the hippocampus – an important structure for memory formation. In preclinical studies it was shown that the modulation of KIBRA has an impact on learning and memory performance. In in vivo studies, an increase in KIBRA levels improves memory performance whilst a down-regulation has a deteriorating effect.
Based on research findings related to a series of novel patentable genes and pathways that play a fundamental role in memory performance in humans SYGNIS was able to establish an active programme to identify and develop proprietary compounds that improve the human learning and memory performance. As part of the related examinations an entirely new approach regarding the treatment of memory impairments was identified. SYGNIS will continue to pursue the therapeutic development of these compounds which look promising in the field of age-related memory impairment, Alzheimer’s disease and other neurological diseases.
About SYGNIS Pharma
SYGNIS Pharma AG, headquartered in Heidelberg, is a specialty pharmaceutical company listed in the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The Company is focused on the research and development of innovative therapies for the treatment of disorders of the Central Nervous System. SYGNIS’ core projects are currently Acute Stroke for which SYGNIS’ lead clinical programme is AX200, as well as the preclinical KIBRA-project for the treatment of different forms of dementia. All these disorders are characterized by the fact that, as the disease progresses, nerve cells are damaged and die. Although there is great medical demand, there are currently no or only inadequate treatment options available. Furthermore, a key element of the sustainable value creation of the Company is the expansion of the product pipeline, which will be secured through its own developments as well as in-licensing and acquisitions.
For further information please contact:
SYGNIS Pharma AG:
Dr. Franz-Werner Haas
Senior Vice President Operations
+49 (0) 6221 454 812
Tel.: +44 (0) 20 7269 7187