New Preventive Vaccine for Alzheimer’s Disease Gets Grant

The Institute for Molecular Medicine (IMM), a non-profit organization dedicated to basic and translational molecular research to develop safe, effective vaccines against Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders, today announced that it was awarded a $12 million grant from the National Institute on Aging (NIA) division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) to support clinical trials of its beta-amyloid (Aβ) vaccines based on DNA (AV-1959D) and recombinant protein (AV-1959R) for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). In collaboration with the University of California, Irvine (Principal Investigator, David Sultzer, M.D.) and University of Southern California (Principal Investigator, Lon Schneider, M.D.), IMM (Principal Investigator and NIH contact, Michael Agadjanyan, Ph.D.) expects to begin a Phase 1 clinical study in the U.S. in the second quarter of 2022.            

Up until now, AD therapeutics have mostly focused on treating the underlying pathology after the disease has taken hold. However, once pathology begins and neurons are damaged, it becomes impossible to stop the disease. Current data suggest that a preventive vaccine administered before disease onset could inhibit Aβ aggregation and significantly delay AD.

“Aβ has a central role in the process by which AD develops,” said Dr. Agadjanyan, Vice President of IMM and Head of the Department of Immunology. “Our published preclinical data, along with clinical results obtained with monoclonal anti-Aβ antibodies, suggest that only preventive treatment may delay or even halt AD. Due to the need for monthly administration of extremely high concentrations of monoclonal anti-Aβ antibodies, it’s impractical to use them for the preventive treatment of healthy people at risk of AD. In contrast, our complementary preventive regimen, comprised of AV-1959D as a prime vaccine and AV-1959R as boost vaccine, could induce high levels of antibodies that inhibit aggregation of Aβ and delay the disease onset in cognitively unimpaired people at risk of AD.”

Published studies on both AV-1959D and AV-1959R vaccines have shown that they are safe and immunogenic in mice, rabbits and non-human primates. These vaccines are based on extremely immunogenic and universal MultiTEP platform technology licensed exclusively to Nuravax, which will oversee commercialization, co-development and sub-licensing agreements with biopharmaceutical companies.

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