West Chester, PA, December 1, 2008 QR Pharma, Inc., a newly formed specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD), today announced that QR has entered into a worldwide exclusive license with Torrey Pines Therapeutics, Inc. for three lines of compounds to treat cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The newly licensed compounds are – Posiphen®, bisnorcymserine, phenserine and analogs.
“TorreyPines’ technology targets two critical pathways in the treatment of AD and achieves both in a novel manner that has the potential to impact disease progression and provide symptomatic relief,” said Maria Maccecchini, Ph.D., and CEO of QR Pharma. “Our experienced and world-class team is pleased to be able to license these clinical-stage compounds and we are focused on aggressively moving this new technology forward to show efficacy in mild as well as severe AD cases.”
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a debilitating condition and accounts for 64% of all dementias; it afflicts more than 30 million people worldwide. Its economic burden and impact on patient wellness and quality of life for both patients and their caregivers are devastating. In the US alone the estimated direct and indirect annual cost of patient care is over $100 billion.
Current AD drugs provide symptomatic relief with limited levels of success; they fail to prevent the progression of the underlying disease. Today the greatest unmet need is the availability of disease-modifying therapies. Thought leaders believe that targeting the accumulation of amyloid-ß peptide (Aß) that forms into hallmark plaques in brain will change the course of AD. QR’s lead compound, Posiphen®, in preclinical models inhibits amyloid precursor protein (APP) synthesis and thereby reduces Aß. Posiphen® is distinct from the AD drugs currently available or in clinical development, because it has a dual mechanism of action: it reduces Aß generation through direct inhibition of APP synthesis and it additionally may provide symptomatic relief through acetylcholinesterase inhibition (AChEI). Posiphen® was tested in single and multiple ascending dose phase I trials and found to be safe.
The next compound in QR’s pipeline is a preclinical stage compound, bisnorcymserine (BNC). BNC is a centrally active, reversible butyrylcholinesterase inhibitor and is expected to work in advanced AD, at a stage when little AChE remains in the brain and BChE predominates. It represents a ‘first on class’ BChE inhibitor. Like Posiphen®, BNC also has been shown in preclinical models to reduce the generation of Aß in brain by lowering the rate of synthesis of APP.
Dr. Nigel Greig and colleagues within the Intramural Research Program of the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health, in Baltimore, MD, is one of the original inventors of the technology. Most of the technology was co-developed and co-owned by Axonyx and NIH and subsequently acquired by Torrey Pines as part of the merger of Axonyx and Torrey Pines. It was licensed to Axonyx and acquired by Torrey Pines. “I look forward to the further development of these AD experimental drugs,” Dr. Greig noted. “With the aging of our population, it is more critical than ever that we find ways to slow down progression of the disease or prevent it altogether.”
“We are pleased to enter into this agreement with QR Pharma and wish them well in their efforts to advance these compounds and develop new treatments for people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease,” said Ev Graham, CEO of Torrey Pines.
About TorreyPines Therapeutics, Inc.
TorreyPines Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company committed to providing patients with better alternatives to existing therapies through the research, development and commercialization of small molecule compounds. The company’s goal is to develop versatile product candidates each capable of treating a number of acute and chronic diseases and disorders such as migraine, chronic pain, muscle spasticity, xerostomia and cognitive disorders. The company is currently developing three product candidates: two ionotropic glutamate receptor antagonists and one muscarinic receptor agonist.
About QR Pharma, Inc
About QR Pharma, Inc.: Headquartered in Radnor, Pennsylvania, QR Pharma, Inc. is a clinical-stage specialty pharmaceutical company committed to developing therapeutics with novel approaches for the treatment of cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). QR currently has two product development programs based on oral small-molecule, blood-brain barrier passable therapeutics that target two distinct pathways for the treatment of AD.
Contact: Maria L. Maccecchini, PhD
Tel: 484 253 2296
Fax: 484 253 2288