SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. April 17, 2002 AGY Therapeutics, Inc. today announced the start of a drug discovery program based on its novel proprietary Alzheimer's Disease (AD) drug target, AGY-110. This high-quality target discovered by AGY belongs to an established class of intracellular enzymes, but its involvement in AD was previously unknown.
The focus of the program will be to identify and discover drug candidates that treat cognitive symptoms, such as memory loss, disorientation, confusion or problems with reasoning and thinking often associated with AD and other neuro-degenerative diseases.
"The effects of current cognition enhancement treatments have been modest to date at best, with many patients showing no improvement, creating a critical unmet medical need for novel treatments to improve patients' cognitive function and quality of life," said Roman Urfer, Ph.D., AGY's Vice President of Drug Discovery and Development. "Our approach may be effective for patients who are not responsive to existing treatments or as a complementary therapy for those who do respond to existing treatments."
The Company identified and validated AGY-110 using its proprietary imAGYne research platform, and has advanced the target into assay development and drug screening. These drug discovery efforts are expected to produce small molecule drug candidates in the second half of 2002.
Research has shown that glutamate, an amino acid neurotransmitter, plays an important role in normal learning and memory. In some neuro-degenerative disorders such as AD, over-expression of certain glutamate receptors can, however, lead to the improvement of cognitive functions.
"Based on this theory, we applied our imAGYne platform to rapidly identify new intervention targets, including AGY-110, from our analysis of the intracellular, downstream signaling molecules that mediate and regulate the activity of these critical receptors," said Dr. Urfer.
AGY-110 is one of many validated targets from AGY's versatile research and discovery program and adds to its growing pipeline of novel neuro-therapeutics for diseases such as stroke, AD, depression, brain tumor and obesity.
"We are building a highly efficient and productive drug discovery engine based on the imAGYne platform," said Dr. Karoly Nikolich, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AGY Therapeutics. "AGY-110 is a particularly exciting target because it could represent an entirely new therapeutic class for neuro-degenerative diseases, and is based on a pharmaceutically-valuable class of intracellular enzymes."
AGY Therapeutics' proprietary imAGYne platform defines the intra- and extra-cellular signaling pathways that underlie the pathological progression of central nervous system (CNS) diseases, so novel, high-quality targets can be carefully selected and functionally validated with the most valuable targets advanced into drug discovery and development. To date, AGY Therapeutics has identified and characterized a vast number of promising drug targets to treat or diagnose CNS diseases.
About AGY Therapeutics
AGY Therapeutics, Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company, is dedicated to discovering and developing novel treatments for central nervous system (CNS) diseases, including stroke, Alzheimer's disease, depression, brain tumors and obesity.