University of Tasmania-patented peptides with exciting potential for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease have been licensed by West Australian biotechnology company Alzhyme Pty Ltd (Alzhyme).
Engineered from a natural protein known to play a critical role in the regeneration of neural cells in the human brain, the emtin peptides have the ability to offer protection from some of the toxic processes associated with Alzheimer's disease.
The exclusive licence of the emtin technology represents the transfer of technology that has been 10 years in the making, led principally by Professor Adrian West from the University's School of Medicine, which sits within the Faculty of Health.
"This and related work demonstrates that emtins have significant potential to reduce the neurochemical processes associated with Alzheimer's Disease and to promote regenerative growth of damaged neurons," Professor West said.
"The hope is that emtins form the basis of a new class of therapeutic compounds that are able to promote recovery from a range of neurological conditions including Alzheimer's."
University of Tasmania's Director of Business Development and Technology Transfer Doctor Darren Cundy said the licence was the essential next step in the development of emtins and would provide access to expertise and support for a comprehensive trial of its properties, and offers the University upfront and milestone payments.
"There is yet to be a treatment produced that can reverse the crippling effects of dementia affecting more than 44 million people worldwide," Dr Cundy said.
"This class of molecule is particularly interesting as we believe it may be useful in treating a range of neurodegenerative conditions."
Alzhyme's CEO Matt Liddelow said the drug development opportunity had great potential.
"Our company's strategy is to invest in a number of disease management options that will ultimately arrest the progression of this debilitating disease," he said.
"In addition to its potential as a treatment for Alzheimer's disease and based on its neuroregenerative capability, the emtin peptides also offer huge potential to be developed as therapeutic treatments for a number of other neurodegenerative conditions which also lack effective treatment options."
Pictured: from left, standing, Alzhyme CEO Matt Liddelow; Alzyhyme director Stephen Quantrill, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Brigid Heywood and Dr Darren Cundy; sitting, researchers Dr Emma Eaton and Professor Adrian West.