Meet the Under-the-Radar Biotech With a 'Novel' Alzheimer's Candidate

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As the world watches big pharma companies like Biogen and Eli Lilly take on the challenges of developing a viable therapy for Alzheimer’s disease, smaller companies, such as ProMis Neurosciences, Inc., are also attempting to blaze a treatment trail in the neurodegenerative market.

Although ProMIS currently has no revenue stream, the small company may be making some headway in developing an Alzheimer’s treatment. In October, the company announced its lead developmental drug PMN310 showed the desired binding profile of selectively targeting amyloid beta oligomers in a preclinical study. That directly compared PMN310 to other amyloid beta-directed antibodies for Alzheimer's disease, the company said. Results of the study showed that PMN310 selectively binds amyloid beta oligomers (AbO), with virtually no binding to the other forms of amyloid beta.

At the time the results were announced, Elliot Goldstein, president and chief executive officer of ProMIS, said the results of the study confirmed the selective binding of PMN310 to amyloid beta oligomers, which are considered a root cause of Alzheimer's disease.

“Results of prior clinical studies with other amyloid beta antibody therapeutics clearly showed that antibodies targeting amyloid beta monomer have consistently been ineffective, while those targeting amyloid beta fibrils, the main component of plaque, are associated with a dose limiting toxicity of brain swelling. Taken together, results of prior clinical trials indicate the best in class target product profile is selective binding of toxic amyloid beta oligomers,” Goldstein said in a statement.

With those kinds of results, Andre Uddin, an analyst with Mackie Research Capital Corp. suggested that ProMIS could be on the radar for possible collaboration deals with larger companies – deals that could result in millions of dollars in funding for the small company. At the end of the third quarter, ProMIS noted it had about $3 million in cash on hand.

“We have assumed ProMIS to out-license PMN310 in 2019 for an upfront payment of CA$50M; our numbers are likely conservative," Uddin said, according to Streetwise Reports.

Uddin said in a note that he anticipates ProMIS could disclose more preclinical results that show PMN310 demonstrates a better safety and efficacy profile than aducanumab, Biogen's Alzheimer’s candidate. Aducanumab, a human recombinant monoclonal antibody, targets amyloid plaque and amyloid beta oligomers. Earlier this month, Biogen unveiled data from the long-term extension of its ongoing Phase 1b study of aducanumab. Data presented followed patients over a two and three-year period. For the 24 month group, Biogen said Amyloid plaque levels continued to decline in patients who remained on treatment for the full term. In patients treated up to 36 months, amyloid plaque as measured by PET using SUVR, continued to decrease in a dose- and time-dependent manner. The news presented by the company shows that Biogen is on track with its anti-amyloid plaque program – one that is closely watched given the late-stage failure of so many other Alzheimer’s drugs.

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