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12:00 AM
 | 
May 30, 2011
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

QR: Power of positivity

QR Pharma rescuing deprioritized Alzheimer's compounds

QR Pharma Inc. has in-licensed a pair of compounds for cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease it believes have suffered from neglect rather than a lack of efficacy or safety.

The more advanced of the two compounds is Posiphen, a positive enantiomer of phenserine that has completed a Phase I/II trial for mild cognitive impairment.

The second product, a preclinical butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) inhibitor, could have utility in later-stage AD patients.

Both compounds were in-licensed from TorreyPines Therapeutics Inc. Posiphen originally came from Axonyx Inc., which reverse merged with TorreyPines in 2006. The compound was a follow-on to racemic phenserine, a next-generation acetylcholinesterase (AChE) inhibitor Axonyx discontinued in 2005 after it failed to show a benefit in three Phase III trials in AD.

According to QR Pharma President and CEO Maria Maccecchini, phenserine was an active agent but ultimately had to be under-dosed because of side effects common to AChE inhibitors, including nausea and vomiting.

While phenserine's negative enantiomer is a potent AChE antagonist,...

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