Düsseldorf, Germany, February 24th, 2021: A collaboration project of Priavoid and Forschungszentrum Jülich has received grant funding from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for the development of an anti-prionic compound for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second-most common age-related neurodegenerative disorder. An estimated seven to ten million people worldwide are affected by PD. Current treatment options are symptomatic and become less effective over time. The disease has a significant impact on life span and quality of life for patients and a tremendous burden for relatives, caregivers, and health care systems.
During recent years, an increasing body of evidence has implicated oligomeric α-synuclein species as potentially toxic and associated with disease progression. The collaboration of Priavoid and Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) intends to attack the disease-causing α-synuclein oligomers by developing a highly innovative, anti-prionic all-d-peptide as active pharmaceutical ingredient in a disease-modifying PD treatment.
“In short, by ligand-mediated stabilization of α-synuclein monomers, toxic prion-like behaving α-synuclein oligomers are disassembled into their monomer building blocks. The truly disruptive elimination of those oligomeric species, the prevention of their replication and spread in the brain is expected to have a significant impact on disease progression”, explains Prof. Dr. Willbold, Professor of Physical Biology at Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf and Director of the Institute of Structural Biochemistry (IBI-7) at FZJ. Together with Prof. Dr. Erdem Tamgüney, he is heading the FZJ part of the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) funded project. Prof. Dr. Willbold is also member of Priavoid’s supervisory board and founder of the company. Notably and in contrast to immunotherapeutic approaches currently under development, Priavoid’s anti-prionic mode of action does not involve or rely on the activation of the immune system. “Working in close collaboration with FZJ, its excellent infrastructure and scientific environment, Priavoid will make substantial progress in the drug development” says Dr. Antje Willuweit, Director of Preclinical Research at Priavoid and Principal Investigator of the project “Development of an anti-prionic compound against α-synuclein assemblies to treat Parkinson’s disease”.
“The funding of the Parkinson’s program by The Michael J. Fox Foundation provides a significant contribution to the development of a promising disease-modifying therapy for patients suffering from PD. It also acknowledges and underscores the potential of Priavoid’s platform”, states Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Detlev Riesner, shareholder and chairman of the supervisory board.