Dealing Denali

Swarm of deals add pipeline and yield clues to Denali's CNS playbook

Denali Therapeutics Inc.'s recent unveiling of 11 deals provides the first glimpse of how the company plans to deploy its nearly $350 million war chest to target neurodegenerative diseases.

The company has previously said it is focusing on "triggers" and "effectors" of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

The triggers include degenogenes and intracellular trafficking. The former are genes involved in neurodegeneration that cause disease when mutated and represent drug targets. The latter encompasses endosomal processes involved in trafficking, digesting and processing cellular components.

The effector category includes glial dysfunction and axon degeneration. Healthy glial cells support neuronal health, prune neuronal synapses and provide immune surveillance and response. The degeneration of axons and elimination of connections between neurons is what causes functional decline in AD, PD and ALS.

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