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AAV-AIBP Therapy for Alzheimer's Disease

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41AG081004-01
Agency Tracking Number: R41AG081004
Amount: $247,056.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NIA
Solicitation Number: PAS19-317
Solicitation Year: 2019
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-09-30
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2024-05-31
Small Business Information
San Diego, CA 92121-2734
United States
DUNS: 081343492
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (858) 246-0452
Business Contact
Phone: (858) 657-0918
Research Institution
Office of Contract and Grant Administration 9500 Gilman Drive, Mail Code 0934
LA JOLLA, CA 92093-0934
United States

 Nonprofit College or University

Therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (AD/ADRD), slow-progressing neurodegenerative
diseases, remains elusive. Therapeutic approaches focusing on beta amyloid (Aβ) removal from the brain or on
targeting genes for which strong associations between their polymorphism and AD/ADRD are established, have
had a mixed record of success. We propose a novel strategy to reverse AD/ADRD associated neuroinflammation
and mitochondrial dysfunction via targeting pathological lipid rafts in inflammatory and activated cells. These
cholesterol-rich plasma membrane structures become stable and enlarged to host the assembly of many
inflammatory receptors and other molecules involved in pathological processes leading to neuronal cell death
and neurodegeneration. We have identified apoA-I binding protein (AIBP, encoded by Apoa1bp gene) as a key
regulator of cellular cholesterol metabolism, which can selectively target pathological lipid rafts via its binding to
TLR4, without damaging physiological lipid rafts. In preliminary studies, the Apoa1bp-/- mice crossed with
APP/PS1 transgenic mice presented more Aβ plaques, an exacerbated dysfunctional microglia phenotype and
increased neuronal cell death when compared to APP/PS1 mice. In addition, mitochondria in the brain of AIBP-
deficient APP/PS1 mice were morphologically distorted, with a characteristic hyper-branched and cupped shape,
typically associated with oxidative stress. The adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated overexpression of a
secreted form of AIBP in the brain of Apoa1bp-/- APP/PS1 mice restored the microglial homeostatic phenotype.
RAFT Pharmaceuticals proposes the development of an AAV-AIBP based therapy to provide effective
neuroprotection in AD/ADRD. Specifically in this Phase 1 STTR project, we propose to construct and optimize
an AAV-AIBP vector (RFT1041), which will be used in efficacy studies of Aim 2 and is expected to enter IND-
enabling development for human clinical applications. We will explore intracranial and intrathecal routes of
delivery and test if a single AAV-AIBP injection achieves sustained AIBP expression in the brain. The efficacy of
RFT1041 (3 different doses) will be tested in APP/PS1 and 3xTg mouse models to evaluate survival, changes
in memory and learning, the extent of Aβ plaques and tau tangles, microglia activation, synaptotoxicity, neuronal
cell death, autophagy, ER stress, and mitochondrial dysfunction. In addition, advanced EM will be used to assess
mitochondrial morphology and function. Results of these studies will be used to prepare for and conduct an
INTERACT meeting with the FDA to receive preliminary FDA feedback on the proposed development program
and assists in minimizing the time spent in product development and reduce time to market.NARRATIVE
Many attempts to develop effective therapy for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias did not achieve their
goal. We identified a novel target in treatment of Alzheimer’s disease - pathologic lipid rafts in inflammatory and
activated cells and the apoA-I binding protein (AIBP) targeting pathologic but not homeostatic lipid rafts. This
project will test in mouse models a gene therapy approach to achieve sustained AIBP expression in the brain as
a novel therapeutic strategy for Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias.

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

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