Center for Neurogenomics & Cognitive Research (CNCR) and DegenRx B.V. a biopharmaceutical company in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, announced today that they have been awarded a grant from the Top Sector Life Sciences & Health (Health~Holland) for their joint research programme on antibody-based gene therapy for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Through an active involvement of Alzheimer Nederland, this Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between CNCR and DegenRx was given the opportunity to apply for a PPP Allowance grant, which aims at supporting collaborative programmes of academia and companies.
Alzheimer’s disease is affecting about two-thirds of the 50 million people that suffer from dementia worldwide and this number is rapidly increasing. Despite many efforts, there is still no drug available today that stops or slows down disease progression.
The grant will be used to evaluate the application of gene therapy to have the therapeutic antibody made in the brain. Such approach would avoid the need to pass the blood-brain barrier, which is typically a significant hurdle for drugs, in particular for the larger ones such as antibodies. Gene therapy offers novel opportunities for antibody-based treatments and has the advantage that it needs to be given only once for a treatment that lasts very long, if not life-long.
Professor dr Guus Smit, group leader and department head at CNCR, commented: “We look forward to actively contribute to gene therapy for Alzheimer’s. We have all expertise to assess the efficacy of treatment in pre-clinical models. I am happy with the DegenRx team committed to make this project into a success”.
Guus Scheefhals, CEO of DegenRx, said: “We are very honored to participate in this program and to work together with the talented and experienced team of professor Guus Smit. This grant underscores the quality of their research and the importance of this work in view of a potential future treatment for AD.”