GERMANTOWN, Maryland--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Precision Molecular, Inc. (PMI), a clinical-stage company with the mission to develop imaging biomarkers and theranostics, today announced that the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) made an investment in the company to support advancement of more effective ways to image neuroinflammation, with a view to discovery of early imaging biomarkers for Alzheimer’s disease. Terms of the investment were not disclosed.
“We welcome the investment by ADDF to help advance this important work,” said Martin Pomper, M.D, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of PMI. “We and others have used radioligands targeting the translocator protein for positron emission tomography (PET) in an effort to measure activated microglia – a hallmark of neuroinflammation – in patients with a variety of putative neuroinflammatory conditions. Unfortunately, that approach is fraught with poor cell selectivity and high variability. The radiotracer being developed by PMI was chosen to offer greater cell specificity with the potential for earlier and more definitive detection of neuroinflammation.” Dr. Pomper is the Henry N. Wagner, Jr. professor in the Russell H. Morgan Department of Radiology and Radiological Science at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
PMI’s radiotracer, PMI04, binds the macrophage colony stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) which, in the brain, is found almost exclusively on microglia and infiltrating macrophages, cell types directly involved in inflammation. In an article published in PNAS, uptake of the PMI radiotracer in inflamed brain tissue was shown to be approximately twice that of healthy brain tissue in animal models. Likewise, binding in postmortem Alzheimer’s brain tissue was about twice that of healthy tissue. Radiotracer uptake could be completely blocked by pretreating with other CSF1R ligands, demonstrating high specificity for the target.
“Imaging agents such as the one being developed by PMI are essential to advancing our ability to diagnose Alzheimer’s and to develop new therapeutics,” said Howard Fillit, M.D., founding executive director and chief science officer of the ADDF. “The ADDF is pleased to support this important work and we look forward to seeing the results of ongoing clinical studies.”
Investment in this program was provided by the ADDF through one of several active funding programs. The ADDF is a non-profit organization solely focused on funding the development of drugs for Alzheimer's, employing a venture philanthropy model to support research in academia and the biotech industry. The ADDF has awarded more than $150 million to fund over 626 Alzheimer's drug discovery programs and clinical trials in 19 countries. To learn more about ADDF, visit the website at www.alzdiscovery.org.
In addition to potential applications for detecting and following Alzheimer’s disease, this radiotracer can also be used to identify and track neuroinflammation in patients with Parkinson’s disease. In December 2019, Johns Hopkins University received a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation (MJFF) to study PMI04 for imaging microglia-selective inflammation in patients with Parkinson’s disease.
Precision Molecular, Inc. (PMI) is a clinical-stage company with the mission to develop imaging biomarkers and theranostics (targeted therapy combined with diagnostics) for management of patients with CNS disorders and cancer. PMI is advancing a number of imaging biomarker products in the clinic with great potential to improve early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. Utilizing these imaging biomarkers to follow disease progression may provide clinical researchers with powerful tools for early assessment of drug efficacy in clinical trials. PMI is a subsidiary of D&D Pharmatech, a clinical-stage global biotech company that funds the development of revolutionary medicines through disease-specific subsidiary companies founded and guided by top-tier medical research faculty and biotechnology veterans. This corporate structure creates a unique opportunity to accelerate translation of cutting-edge research into lifesaving therapeutic products for patients. For more information about D&D Pharmatech and Precision Molecular, Inc., please visit http://www.ddpharmatech.com/