The biopharma Neurimmune and the venture capital fund TVM Life Science Ventures VII announced they have created a Swiss company called AL-S Pharma AG to develop a new therapy for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).
AL-S Pharma AG is a special purpose company formed to develop one compound — AP-101 — to proof-of-concept stage, according to a news release.
“We are very excited to see another monoclonal antibody developed through our Reverse Translational Medicine platform moving towards clinical development,” Jan Grimm, PhD, chief scientific officer of Neurimmune and member of the board of AL-S Pharma, said in a press release.
“ALS is a terrible disease, and we believe that AP-101 has the potential to provide therapeutic benefit to the patients suffering from it,” Grimm said.
AP-101 is a human monoclonal antibody that targets misfolded superoxide dismutase-1 (SOD1). The drug was generated and pre-clinically validated by Neurimmune’s Reverse Translational Medicine platform.
An article titled “Targeting of Monomer/Misfolded SOD1 as a Therapeutic Strategy for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis” was published in the Journal of Neuroscience in 2012 and explains the rationale behind AP-101.
Increasing evidence suggests that toxicity of mutant SOD1 in ALS is linked to its propensity to misfold and aggregate. This study’s results support that SOD1 misfolding and aggregation plays a central role in SOD1-linked disease course in ALS and identified misfolded SOD1 as a therapeutic target for SOD1-related ALS.
TVM Life Science Ventures VII venture capital fund is an arrangement between TVM Capital Life Science and other limited partners, including Eli Lilly and Company.
TVM Capital Life Science and AL-S Pharma have the option to work with Chorus, an autonomous division of Eli Lilly, to plan the most efficient and cost-effective clinical plan for AP-101. Chorus works with external partners to develop programs to proof-of-concept.
“The management team of AL-S Pharma is excited to collaborate with Chorus and TVM Capital Life Science, the advisor to the investing fund, to develop this promising drug candidate to clinical proof-of-concept,” said Michael Salzmann, PhD, Neurimmune’s chief operations officer and CEO of AL-S Pharma.
AL-S Pharma is aiming to to launch its first study of AP-101 in humans in 2018, working with an international network of ALS clinics. Salzmann will oversee the development of AP-101.
“Neurodegeneration is a core therapeutic area where Lilly is committed to identifying, accessing and shaping innovation for patients who are waiting,” added Christer Nordstedt, Lilly’s vice president of neuroscience research and clinical development.