SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. April 24, 2002 AGY Therapeutics, Inc. today announced that the Company has initiated drug discovery programs for two novel proprietary stroke drug targets, AGY-203 and AGY-207, for the potential treatment of ischemic stroke. The high-quality targets discovered by AGY have been shown to be critically involved in neurodegenerative processes following stroke. Both proteins belong to different druggable classes of intracellular enzymes, but their involvement in stroke was previously unknown.
"The current treatment for ischemic stroke is most effective when administered within a three-hour window following the onset of symptoms. Unfortunately, less than five percent of individuals who suffer a stroke recognize their situation and reach a hospital in time to receive such treatment," said Roman Urfer, Ph.D., AGY's Vice President of Drug Discovery and Development. "Our approach aims to widen this 'therapeutic window' in order to treat the vast majority of stroke patients who are admitted to hospital care in the days and perhaps even weeks after a stroke."
The Company identified and validated AGY-203 and AGY-207, using its proprietary imAGYneTM research platform, and has advanced the targets into assay development and drug screening. These drug discovery efforts are expected to produce small molecule drug candidates in the second half of 2002.
Experts believe that in the hours and days following a stroke, areas of the brain continue to be damaged by aberrant cell signaling and subsequent changes in gene expression. By understanding specific gene function and pathological pathways surrounding these events, therapies can be developed to intervene in this process, thereby protecting brain tissue from the damaging after-effects of stroke.
"Through our rigorous validation program, we have demonstrated that AGY-203 and AGY-207 as well as several other potential drug targets play a key role in stroke-induced neuronal damage, which we expect will lead to the development of entirely new treatments for stroke and related neurological diseases," said Dr. Urfer.
AGY scientists have analyzed processes involved in neuronal cell death and regeneration following ischemic brain damage in multiple stroke models. This research has led to the discovery of several thousand genes regulated at different magnitudes, at different times during the process of ischemic brain injury from stroke. The complexity of this work has allowed AGY to gain an entirely new level of understanding of post-ischemic events in the brain, which now serves as a basis for the Company's stroke drug discovery program.
"In addition to our development of novel treatments for stroke, we believe our in-depth knowledge of gene expression activity during the first hours and days of stroke could drive the development of critically-needed diagnostic tools," said Karoly Nikolich, Ph.D., Founder and Chief Executive Officer of AGY Therapeutics. "Identifying the time of stroke onset and the condition of the patient is extremely challenging for a treating physician. Diagnostic tools based on our research could enable physicians to precisely judge the stage of stroke and more effectively administer treatment."
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.