AGY THERAPEUTICS SIGNS AGREEMENTS TO IDENTIFY DRUG TARGETS IN CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM DISEASES AND OBESITY
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. June 28, 2001 AGY Therapeutics, Inc. today announced that the company has signed agreements with The University of Chicago; Baylor College of Medicine; the University of California, Davis; and the Institute of Enzymology in Budapest, Hungary to identify optimal drug targets for certain central nervous system diseases and obesity. In all four collaborations, AGY's proprietary imAGYne platform technology will be used to identify, characterize and validate disease-related genes and their functions in order to discover viable drug targets and diagnostic markers.
"These collaborations with the foremost scientists in their fields augment our ongoing research collaborations and should significantly accelerate our research and development efforts for these diseases," said Dr. Karoly Nikolich, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AGY Therapeutics.
The imAGYne platform, a proprietary, high throughput functional genomics platform, charts the progress of disease rather than just the cause and end-result of the disease as is done through genetic linkage analysis and post-mortem tissue analysis. By understanding the progressive stages of disease through detailed transcriptional profiles, it is believed that novel, unique drug targets and diagnostic markers will continued to be discovered.
Alzheimer's disease will be the focus of The University of Chicago and Baylor College of Medicine collaborations. At The University of Chicago, leading researcher Sangram S. Sisodia, Ph.D., Thomas Reynolds Sr. Family Professor of Neurosciences and Director of The Center for Molecular Neurobiology, will study the role that mutant genes and senile plaques play in neuronal death and the overall progression of the disease. Dana Giulian, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Neurology at Baylor College of Medicine, and his team will examine the role that activation of microglial cells by amyloid-beta has in the progression of Alzheimer's disease.
With the UC Davis School of Medicine, AGY Therapeutics will develop a functional genomic analysis of a unique model of multifactorial obesity and mild type 2 diabetes developed in the laboratory of Craig H. Warden, Ph.D., Professor of Pediatrics, pediatric and neurobiology/physiology/and behavior researcher and co-discoverer of the UCP2 gene for obesity, which currently is in drug development. Dr. Warden's lab recently received a research grant from AGY Therapeutics and a matching grant from the University of California's BioSTAR program to conduct this work.
"With AGY's platform, we can learn much more about the role the peripheral and central nervous systems play in certain forms of obesity and uncover potential new therapeutic targets that can benefit patients," said Dr. Warden.
About the ImAGYne Platform AGY Therapeutics developed the imAGYne platform to provide researchers with a comprehensive approach to defining the intra- and extra-cellular signaling pathways underlying the pathological progression of disease, so potential therapeutic targets could be more easily identified and qualified for further investigation. The imAGYne platform begins with animal models that replicate the same disease found in humans. Next, diseased tissue samples are compared to normal tissue samples. After regulated genes are identified, multiple expression profiles are run over a period of time to distinguish genes that are unique to the diseased tissue sample and their special signaling activities. Upon learning the "what, when and where" of the signaling activities, the activities are translated into pathway models that underlie the disease process. While multiple pathways and targets are identified, it is not until after multiple strategies are applied that the highest-quality targets are gleaned for future drug or diagnostic development.
The collaboration with the Institute of Enzymology will be led by Laszlo Patthy, Ph.D., the institute's director and leading researcher in the prediction of protein structure and its therapeutic potential. Dr. Patthy will lead the research team in the in silico analysis of genes associated with certain central nervous system diseases. His laboratory also will develop novel tools to assess and predict the potential therapeutic value of disease-related genes and prioritize these targets for assay development at AGY Therapeutics.
ABOUT AGY THERAPEUTICS, INC.
AGY Therapeutics, Inc. is a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on developing therapeutic products for the treatment of diseases of the central nervous system. With its proprietary imAGYne, imArrays and imFormatics platforms, AGY has built a unique knowledge base of the neuroprotective capacities and vulnerabilities of the nervous system.
This news release contains forward-looking statements about future research and development efforts. These statements represent our judgment as of the date of this news release and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements. In particular, we face risks and uncertainties that further research into these genes may not go forward as planned or that future scientific data on these genes may not provide supportive data for the diseases we are targeting.