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Optimization of small molecule SERCA2b activators to inhibit neuron loss in Alzheimer's disease

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 2R42AG062001-02A1
Agency Tracking Number: R42AG062001
Amount: $1,989,595.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIA
Solicitation Number: PAS19-316
Timeline
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2020
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2020-08-01
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2022-05-31
Small Business Information
9800 RAMBLING ROSE LN
Saint John, IN 46373-9039
United States
DUNS: 080805275
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 RUSSELL DAHL
 (219) 779-7802
 rdahl@neurodon.net
Business Contact
 RUSSELL DAHL
Phone: (219) 315-4914
Email: rdahl@neurodon.net
Research Institution
 NORTHWESTERN UNIVERSITY
 
750 N. LAKE SHORE DRIVE
CHICAGO, IL 60611-4579
United States

 Nonprofit College or University
Abstract

Neurodon LLC proposes to conduct lead optimization and candidate-seeking activities on a novel series of
neuroprotective small molecules that shows efficacy in a transgenic model of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). AD is
a leading cause of death in the United States, with some estimates ranking it as high as third behind
cardiovascular disease and cancer. Despite the enormity of this national public health burden, the therapeutic
options are very limited. The few approved therapies treat only symptoms, and there are no disease-modifying
therapies approved. All of the recent clinical trials have failed or are not meeting efficacy endpoints. With this
patient population set to almost triple over the next 30 years, there is a dire need for disease-modifying
therapies. Neuron loss is the only physiological phenomena that has been directly linked to the cognition and
memory loss in patients, and a major cause of brain cell death in AD is endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-
induced apoptosis caused by intracellular Ca2+ dyshomeostasis. Neurodon’s patented, small molecule positive
allosteric modulators (PAMs) of the major ER Ca2+ handling protein, sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase
(SERCA), rescue brain cells in vitro and in vivo, improve memory and cognition in the APP/PS1 double
transgenic mouse model of AD, and reduce ER stress markers in vivo, enabling biomarker-driven drug
discovery and an improved probability of clinical success. Our Phase 1 research met the technical milestone of
developing molecules with improved in vitro profiles when compared to our previous proof-of-concept
compounds. We developed 5 new PAMs with improved efficacy in an in vitro Alzheimer’s model, sub-
micromolar potencies in neuroprotection assays, and improved physicochemical properties. In this proposal,
we will again partner with the medicinal chemistry expertise and facilities at Northwestern University. We have
also added additional experts to the team in Alzheimer’s models, SERCA biology, and behavioral animal
models. Our goal of identifying development molecules for Alzheimer’s disease will be accomplished by
pursuing the following Aims: 1) Perform lead optimization of SERCA2b PAMs via iterative medicinal chemistry
synthesis. 2) Perform in vitro profiling in neuroprotective and synaptoprotective assays to measure potency
and efficacy of SERCA2b PAMs. 3) Perform candidate-seeking activities to identify SERCA2b PAMs with drug-
like properties. 4) Perform essential in vivo characterization studies on lead SERCA PAMs in the APP/PS1
transgenic mouse model of AD. The results of these Aims will be the identification of candidate molecules to
progress into IND-enabling studies at Neurodon.Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a leading cause of death in the US with no approved therapeutics to slow
or halt disease progression. This proposal aims to deliver development candidates via optimization of
our novel, brain-penetrant, neuroprotective molecules that have shown efficacy in cellular and animal
models of AD. Our previous Phase I research met its technical milestones by delivering molecules
with improved potency and physical properties, and this proposal aims to further optimize these
scaffolds to provide IND-ready scaffolds.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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