Tiziana Life Sciences PLC (LON:TILS, NASDAQ:TLSA) said the chairman of its scientific advisory board has received a research grant from the National Institutes of Health in the US to investigate the company’s nasal anti-CD3 drug, Foralumab, for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
The NIH award provides third-party validation of the work of Dr Howard Weiner in an area of great unmet medical need.
He believes the nasal administration of Foralumab is a “potentially revolutionary approach” to treat patients with Alzheimer’s.
To date the company has successfully completed two phase I studies on the drug candidate, administered both nasally and orally for the treatment of progressive multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease.
It will be hoped this early work will speed up the clinical progress in Alzheimer’s.
In a statement, Weiner said: “Preclinical animal studies have established that nasal administration of anti-CD3 can modulate brain microglia and ameliorate disease in animal models.
“This is a major scientific advancement that provides the basis to move forward with clinical development of nasally administered Foralumab in Alzheimer’s disease.”
A breakthrough in this area of medicine is being urgently sought.
Biogen (NASDAQ:BIIB) recently delayed the launch of aducanumab, which, when it goes live will be the only commercially available product developed specifically to treat the disease.
Peak sales are tipped to hit US$10bn, and, with pent up demand worldwide, revenues from the Biogen breakthrough are expected to rise rapidly, analysts said.
“Alzheimer's is considered to be the disease of the century, presenting multiple challenges and limited therapeutic successes so far,” said Tiziana chairman Gabriele Cerrone.
“For this reason, combined with Dr Weiner’s expertise and the encouragement by the NIH to explore it, we are excited to further expand our proprietary novel approach to treat neurodegerative diseases with nasal administration of Foralumab, a first-in-class approach that has shown retardation of Alzheimer’s disease progression in preclinical models."
Weiner has an impressive CV. He is the Robert L. Kroc Professor of Neurology at the Harvard Medical School, Director and Founder of the Partners Multiple Sclerosis Center and Co-Director of the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital.