MONROVIA, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--AcuraStem a fast-growing, innovative biotech company in Monrovia, California, has been awarded a 3.7 million dollar Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Fast-Track grant (#R44NS105156) by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to continue research for the development of a small molecule therapeutic, “AS2015”, focused on treating patients with the genetic form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) caused by expansion repeats in the gene C9ORF72.
The grant supports an integrated drug discovery approach by AcuraStem to leverage the induced motor neuron cellular models developed at AcuraStem President and Co-Founder, Dr. Justin Ichida's lab at USC. AcuraStem’s innovative precision platform, iNeuroRx™, utilizes nerve cells derived from patient stem cells, in conjunction with artificial intelligence, to predict drug efficacy, and is transforming patient outcomes. By applying this to their cutting edge iNeuroxRx™ platform, AcuraStem can partner with patients and their clinicians to evaluate disease progression and evaluate existing approved therapeutics to identify the best treatments to slow the progression of ALS.
The NINDS SBIR program seeks to help researchers commercialize early-stage scientific discoveries. Small-molecule drugs are easier to administer to patients, are often less expensive, and more easily penetrate the blood brain barrier—a beneficial feature for drugs that treat neurodegenerative diseases. The path for small molecule drug approval is marred with hundreds to thousands of failed programs, so it is believed important to leverage relevant human disease and toxicity models as early as possible during the preclinical drug discovery phases. Dr. Ichida’s human motor neuron assay helps to mitigate some of these obstacles that can hinder new therapeutic progression. Read full press release.
AcuraStem is a biotechnology company formed in 2016 to create an innovative precision medicine platform, iNeuroRX™, which leverages patient stem cells and advanced machine learning technology to discover drugs for neurodegenerative diseases. The platform has revealed a novel ALS target from Dr. Justin Ichida’s lab at USC. AcuraStem is led by an exceptional team of PhDs, professors, tech entrepreneurs, and successful drug company veterans employing the latest scientific breakthroughs to first address one of the most challenging, but tractable diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).