June 25, 2008
A public research funding program set up by the German Ministry of Education and Research.
Probiodrug AG, a spin-off from the Leibniz Society’s Hans-Knöll-Institut für Wirkstoffforschung in Jena and a specialist in the development of small molecule inhibitors for inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases, has won a grant €1.9 million from KMU innovativ: Biotechnology-BioChance, a public research funding programme set up by the German Ministry of Education and Research to support innovative biotech SMEs.
The three-year grant will fund the characterisation and pharmacological evaluation of glutaminyl cyclase inhibitors as a novel treatment strategy for Alzheimer's disease. This approach is based on Probiodrug’s discovery that the enzyme glutaminyl cyclase is involved in the seeding of beta-amyloid, which is typically found in the brain of Alzheimer’s disease patients.
“We are very pleased about being awarded this substantial grant,” said Hans-Ulrich Demuth, CSO of Probiodrug. “It will help us to advance our preclinical development activities [to select drug leads].
This will involve collaborative work conducted with academic partners at the University of Göttingen and the Paul-Flechsig-Institute for Brain Research at the University of Leipzig. Parts of the lead discovery process will be conducted by Probiodrug’s long-term partner Origenis GmbH in Martinsried/Munich.
Over the last four years, Probiodrug has established a network of academic partners specialising in neurobiological research at the Universities of Erlangen, Göttingen, Halle, Leipzig, and in Magdeburg at the Institute for Neurobiology and at the Research Institute for Applied Neuroscience. This has advanced the company’s neurodegeneration research while facilitating interactions between groups from different academic institutions.
In addition, the Department of Psychiatry at University of Göttingen and Probiodrug AG are members of the Alzheimer PhD Graduate School programme, “Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer’s disease – mechanisms, consequences and therapy”, a Marie Curie Early Stage Training PhD programme funded by the European Commission in order to promote young scientists in the field of Alzheimer’s disease.