Promising drug trials for spin-out company in the fight against Alzheimer's disease

Promising drug trials for spin-out company in the fight against Alzheimer's disease
TAURx phase 3 trial results announced. Credit: University of Aberdeen

Phase three trials for a drug which targets Alzheimer's disease developed by a company spun out of the University of Aberdeen have shown promising results.

TauRx Therapeutics Ltd, a member of the TauRx Pharmaceuticals group which is developing technology with the aim of developing new treatments and diagnostics for a range of neurodegenerative diseases, has reported results for its LMTX therapy.

LMTX, the company's tau aggregation inhibitor, targets aggregates of abnormal fibres of tau protein that form inside nerve cells in the brain and give rise to 'tau tangles' that cause dementia.

At a conference today (July 27) TAURx announced positive findings from clinical trials, particularly in those given the drug as a monotherapy.

The main findings from the trial are:

  • LMTX as monotherapy demonstrates significant reductions in in mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease
  • There were strong results in both cognitive and functional tests supported by brain scan evidence of slow-down in progression of pathology
  • The study missed co-primary endpoints as LMTX as add-on therapy shows no beneficial effects
  • Initial analysis from second phase 3 study in patients with mild Alzheimer's disease confirm positive findings

Professor Claude Wischik, Professor of Psychiatric Geratology at Aberdeen University and co-founder of TauRx said, "The results we have seen in this study confirm the results we saw in our Phase 2 study, where an earlier version of the drug was also given as monotherapy. The results we see in those patients not taking Alzheimer's disease medications show the considerable potential of LMTX as a monotherapy for both mild and moderate Alzheimer's disease. Perhaps more importantly, these results support the targeting of the tau tangle pathology in Alzheimer's disease as being a very promising drug development pathway. However, the reason for the observed loss of efficacy of LMTX when taken in combination with currently available treatments for Alzheimer's disease is not as yet understood."

Dr Serge Gauthier, CM, MD, FRCPC, Director of the Alzheimer's Disease Research Unit, McGill University, Canada who presented the results at the 2016 Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC) in Toronto, Canada, said:

"In a study of this size across a combined mild to moderate patient population, it is both encouraging to see improvements of this magnitude in the standard cognitive and functional tests and reassuring to see the supporting brain scan evidence of a slowing in disease progression during 15 months of treatment.

"As a practicing clinician I see Alzheimer's patients, their families and care-givers every day, and continually share their desperate need for a truly therapeutic product as today we only have symptomatic treatments available to us. In a field that has been plagued by consistent failures of novel drug candidates in late-stage and where there has been no practical therapeutic advance for over a decade, I am excited about the promise of LMTX as a potential new treatment option for these patients."

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