Neuro-Bio Ltd. has identified a peptide derived from AChE - the enzyme responsible for breaking down acetylcholine - and believes the fragment is the main pathological driver in Alzheimer's disease, acting upstream of β-amyloid and tau in the brain centers hit earliest in the disease.
The company, which was formed in 2013, is developing inhibitors of the peptide to create a disease-modifying therapy, and is seeking investors to help fund preclinical studies.
Its approach departs from the strategy behind the standard of care in AD, in which AChE inhibitors are used to enhance levels of ACh in the synaptic cleft, boosting neurotransmission to compensate for the loss of cholinergic neurons that commonly occurs in the disease.
CEO Susan Greenfield told BioCentury that the marketed drugs provide only modest and transient symptomatic relief, and because their goal is to eke out more transmission from the remaining cells, they don't address the root cause of the disease.
Indeed, most companies have moved on to targeting molecules thought to drive the pathology - in particular β-amyloid and tau, each of which forms toxic protein aggregates in AD brains.
But Greenfield said Neuro-Bio has a fresh take on AChE that places a cleavage product of the enzyme at the center of a mechanism that drives the earliest