AC Immune SA (NASDAQ: ACIU), a Swiss-based, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a broad pipeline focused on neurodegenerative diseases, today announced it has been awarded a follow-up grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research (MJFF). In 2015 AC°Immune received a research grant from the MJFF to support the development of a Parkinson's-specific diagnostic agent. Following a grant extension in 2017, the new grant is an acknowledgement of the progress AC Immune has made in this program. This grant aims to facilitate the execution of a first-in-human study for a potential alpha-synuclein PET tracer with the current lead compound. The study will commence in Q1 of 2019. The amount of the grant has not been disclosed.
Prof. Andrea Pfeifer, CEO of AC Immune, said: "We are honored to receive, for the third time, funding from the prestigious Michael J. Fox Foundation underlining our collaboration and dedication to find earlier and more accurate tools for the diagnosis of Parkinson's disease. This new follow-up grant further validates AC°Immune's leading expertise in the pathology of misfolded proteins and our vision to become a global leader in precision medicine of neurodegenerative diseases."
Jamie Eberling, PhD, Director of Research Programs at MJFF, commented: "Development of a selective alpha-synuclein PET tracer would allow for earlier diagnosis and disease tracking. And it could transform drug development, offering an objective and efficient outcome measure to evaluate disease-modifying therapies, which remain the greatest unmet need of the millions living with Parkinson's disease. This first-in-human study is a major milestone toward that goal."
This potentially first PET tracer was discovered using the company's proprietary MorphomerTM chemistry technology platform. AC Immune has been successfully collaborating on this program with Biogen since April 2016. The companies will continue to further research, develop and clinically validate this alpha-synuclein PET tracer as an imaging biomarker for Parkinson's disease. Alongside diagnosis of Parkinson's disease, an alpha-synuclein PET tracer would further facilitate the clinical development of new disease-modifying therapies.