AC Immune SA (NASDAQ: ACIU), a Swiss-based, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a broad pipeline focused on neurodegenerative diseases, today announced The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) has awarded a new grant for the Company’s pioneering alpha-synuclein (a-syn) positron-emission tomography (PET) tracer program.
Over the last four years, AC Immune has received continuous grant support from MJFF to accelerate development of a-syn PET tracers. If successful, AC Immune’s program could deliver the world’s first imaging agent capable of accurately detecting and monitoring progression of Parkinson’s disease (PD). An effective a-syn tracer would also enable and accelerate the development of novel PD therapies as a powerful tool for measuring the effect of novel drugs on a-syn pathology in the brain.
Prof. Andrea Pfeifer, CEO of AC Immune SA, commented: “We are very proud to be working together with MJFF on our a-syn PET tracer program, which offers patients the potential for earlier diagnosis of PD and facilitates the development of therapeutic intervention strategies. AC Immune’s precision medicine approach to treating neurodegenerative diseases focuses on the creation of imaging agents capable of earlier detection and disease monitoring, as well as the development of a broad pipeline of effective therapeutic candidates focused on the prevention and treatment of these debilitating conditions.”
The program has generated multiple compounds that bind with high-affinity and selectivity to human PD brain-derived, pathological a-syn in preclinical studies. A lead a-syn PET tracer candidate entered clinical trials earlier this year — also with MJFF funding — focused on imaging of pathological a-syn in PD and other synucleinopathies. AC Immune’s a-syn PET tracers are derived from the Company’s proprietary small molecule MorphomerTM discovery platform. The Company is also advancing the development of oral small molecule a-syn inhibitors and SupraAntigenTM-derived anti-a-syn antibodies as novel therapeutic candidates targeting PD and a-syn-related NeuroOrphan diseases.
Dr. Jan Stöhr, Head of Non-Alzheimer’s Disease Proteinopathies at AC Immune, will give an oral presentation related to the development of the Company’s a-syn PET tracer at MJFF’s 13th Annual Parkinson’s Disease Therapeutics Conference on October 15th in New York City.