Praetego Awarded $2.5M Grant for Alzheimer’s Drug Work

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Durham-based Praetego, a pharmaceutical company focused on treating neurodegenerative diseases related to aging, has received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to advance its lead drug candidate against Alzheimer’s disease.

The Phase 2 STTR award from the NIH’s National Institute of Aging will help Praetego develop PTG-630 toward preventing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. The company said it intended to file an Investigational New Drug application for PTG-630 with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2023.

The grant follows previous awards from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases for PTG-630 in diabetic peripheral neuropathy and expands Praetego's ongoing collaboration with the University of California at San Diego School of Medicine. 

Tapping the potential of Amadorins

PTG-630 is one of Praetego’s proprietary drug candidates called Amadorins.

These small molecules recently demonstrated neuroprotection in the central and peripheral nervous systems in preclinical models of both Alzheimer’s disease and diabetic peripheral neuropathy, according to Praetego. Researchers found protection against mild cognitive impairment and biomarker evidence of neuronal benefit.

-- Shutterstock image of elderly couple
-- Shutterstock. 

The Amadorins potently inhibit the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), also known as glycotoxins. AGEs promote oxidative stress, inflammation and apoptosis, leading to organ damage. 

AGE pathology is an established driver of neurodegeneration in diabetic complications and in chronic diseases of aging.

As potent AGE inhibitors, the Amadorins offer broad systemic protection, according to Praetego. Unlike traditional small molecules, the Amadorins do not act upon a single target or receptor. Instead, they inhibit upstream oxidative reactions to prevent downstream extracellular and intracellular pathology.

The elucidation of the mechanisms of AGE formation and the design of therapeutic AGE inhibitors has been the career focus of Praetego's chief scientific officer, Raja G. Khalifah, Ph.D., the principal investigator of the National Institutes of Aging award.

"This is an extremely innovative approach to inhibiting the pathogenesis of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Rachel Schindler, M.D., Praetego's chief medical officer.

AGEs lead to key pathological processes in the development of Alzheimer's disease, including amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles and neuroinflammation, Schindler said. They have also been demonstrated in animal models to be a key factor in other processes of aging and neurodegeneration.

“This ongoing support from the NIH has enabled Praetego to progress its novel scientific approach to disorders of aging and neurodegeneration, and specifically Alzheimer’s disease,” she said.

The company says its name, pronounced pruh-tay-go, is a Latin verb that means “to protect.”

Barry Teater, NCBiotech Writer
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