Radnor, PA, April 6, 2009 QR Pharma, Inc., a newly formed specialty pharmaceutical company focused on developing novel therapeutics for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, received a $500,000 investment from Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern PA. The investment will further the clinical development of two lines of compounds, Posiphen® and bisnorcymserine and their respective analogs to treat Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and cognitive impairment.
QR Pharma was founded to capitalize on technology that was invented by Dr. Nigel Greig at NIA/NIH, QR Pharma obtained an exclusive worldwide license in November 2008.
“The technology targets two critical pathways in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and achieves both in a manner that has the potential to impact disease progression and provide symptomatic relief,” said Maria Maccecchini, Ph.D., CEO of QR Pharma and a successful biotechnology veteran in the region. “In the last 6 months we have assembled a world-class team experienced in the strategic development of Alzheimer’s drugs. We are focused on aggressively moving this new technology forward in the clinic to show efficacy in mild as well as severe Alzheimer’s cases.”
Alzheimer’s disease is a debilitating condition that accounts for 64% of all dementias, and 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 Alzheimer’s drugs provide symptomatic relief with limited levels of success, and 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 the brain will change the course of Alzheimer’s. However, a second hypothesis states that amyloid precursor protein (APP) is instrumental in inducing neuronal cell death before it is processed into Aß.
QR’s lead compound, Posiphen®, inhibits APP synthesis in preclinical models and, thereby, reduces A? accumulation into plaque as well as APP induced nerve cell death. Posiphen® is distinct from the Alzheimer’s drugs currently available or in clinical development, because it has a dual mechanism of action: it reduces APP/Aß generation through direct inhibition of APP synthesis, and it 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 Alzheimer’s, at a stage when little AChE remains in the brain and BChE predominates. Like Posiphen®, BNC has been shown to reduce the generation of APP/Aß in the brain in preclinical models, by lowering the rate of synthesis of APP.
“I look forward to further development of these experimental Alzheimer’s drugs,” Dr. Greig noted. “With the aging of our population, it is more critical than ever that we find ways to slow the progression of the disease, or prevent it altogether.”
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