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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Prana pairs up with Takeda in Parkinson’s gastrointestinal neuropathology

July 18, 2017

Australia’s Prana Biotechnology (Nasdaq: PRAN) was trading 6% higher at $2.80 late morning on Tuesday after the announcement of a research collaboration with Takeda Pharmaceutical (TYO: 4502), Japan’s largest drugmaker.
The companies will jointly study the ability of Prana’s investigational movement disorders compound, PBT434, to slow or prevent neurodegeneration of the gastrointestinal system, one of the important non-motor features of Parkinson’s disease.
Parkinson’s disease is characterized by the loss of neurons and their networks in the brain and in the gut. The cause of neurodegeneration and gastrointestinal dysfunction in Parkinson’s disease is not known, but the protein alpha-synuclein has been hypothesized to be implicated in this process.
Prana recently announced the publication of results with PBT434 demonstrating significant reduction of alpha-synuclein in various pre-clinical models of Parkinson’s disease in the peer reviewed journal Acta Neuropathologica Communications.
This paper suggested that PBT434 may reduce the formation of toxic alpha-synuclein fibrils and aggregates, rescue neurons burdened by such toxic forms of alpha-synuclein and restore motor function in animal models.

The research collaboration will investigate the ability of investigational compound PBT434 to mitigate gastrointestinal dysfunction, constipation, lowered colon motility and inflammation in mouse models, including an alpha-synuclein transgenic mouse.

David Finkelstein, Prana’s senior scientific consultant and head of the Parkinson’s Disease Laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health in Melbourne, Australia, said: “This early research is important because our major therapeutic objective is to treat these disabling symptoms and provide an early therapeutic intervention for both motor and non-motor Parkinsonian symptoms in patients which may significantly impact on the quality of life.” 

PBT434 is the first of a new generation of small molecules from the quinazolinone class of drugs that was specifically designed to block the accumulation and aggregation of alpha-synuclein and is expected to begin human testing in a Phase I trial later this year.

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