Monday, March 11, 1996
The diseases targeted by MitoKor - Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, non-insulin dependent diabetes mellitus(NIDDM), and schizophrenia - might appear to be unconnected. What they all share, however, is a defect in the mitochondrial DNA of related organs, according to Robert Davis, vice president and chief scientific officer.
Mitochondria are the principal sites for the synthesis of ATP (adenosine triphosphate), which stores and supplies energy in cells. In the mid-1980s, molecular biologist Giuseppe Attardi of the California Institute of Technology reported on the significant role mitochondria play in a number of rare childhood muscle and nerve diseases.
More common than thought
Since then, Attardi and others have demonstrated that mitochondrial dysfunction - caused by defects in their DNA - plays an important role in more common neurodegenerative, metabolic and psychiatric disorders that affect adults, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, NIDDM and schizophrenia.
MitoKor (formerly Applied Genetics), was founded in 1992 by Dean Cuplin of GE Capital Ventures and Davis Parker, a neurologist at the University of Virginia. Parker's specialty, the biochemical effects of the electron transport chain in Parkinsons' and Alzheimer's diseases, led him to look for a mitochondrial characterization of these diseases, and to the analysis of patient tissues for evidence of mitochondrial