NEW YORK, Jan. 10, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) has awarded a $300,000 grant to the Spanish biotechnology company Oryzon for its program investigating new therapeutic approaches for Alzheimer's disease.
Oryzon's approach targets a protein discovered recently called LSD1. This protein plays a role in regulating the expression of crucial genes that neurons need to keep alive. LSD1 is able to switch the expression of those genes on and off in the neurons in response to age, insults and environmental conditions. LSD1 also regulates the expression of genes involved in the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases.
The ADDF award will fund work to further optimize Oryzon's lead molecules into future clinical candidates and to achieve proof-of-concept in regards to selectivity for LSD1 in several AD mouse models.
"The ADDF is proud to support Oryzon's novel LSD1 program, which has the potential to impact multiple disease targets in Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative disorders," said Howard Fillit, MD, the ADDF's Executive Director. "The ADDF is actively expanding its funding opportunities internationally, and we look forward to our partnership with Oryzon."
"We are very honored to be selected for one of the ADDF's highly competitive, internationally peer-reviewed grants," said Dr. Carlos Buesa, Oryzon's CEO. "We are the first Spanish company to obtain ADDF support and are excited by the prospect of working more closely with the Alzheimer's community. This grant will accelerate the optimization of our advanced pharmaceutical leads for AD and validates Oryzon's innovative approaches engendered in a field where there is a desperate medical need."
Oryzon was founded in 2000 as a spin-off of the University of Barcelona and CSIC. Today, with an international interdisciplinary team of 70 employees, the Company is recognized as the leading biomarker discovery company in Spain. Oryzon has a complementary diagnostic and therapeutic pipeline focusing on oncology and neurodegenerative disorders. After a successful B series funding in 2008, the Company acquired Crystax Biopharmaceuticals, bolstering fragment screening, crystallographic and structural genomic expertise in the process. Oryzon's biomarker programs have successfully resulted not only in the identification of a new molecular signature useful for the early diagnosis of endometrial cancer (which is now being validated in a clinical trial with 500 patients recruited from 14 hospitals), but also in the characterization of new druggable targets for several oncological and neurological diseases. It has a fast-moving, dynamic discovery team with more than 30 chemists and biologists focused on its three major small molecule programs. These programs use a powerful combination of in-house state of the art fragment screening and molecular modeling technologies, accompanied by traditional SAR approaches, to identify new chemical entities possessing novel mechanisms of action that have the potential to be first-in-class. Oryzon is developing a rich pipeline of targets that are progressing through preliminary target validation. In addition to its own R&D programs, the Company is the leading provider of some fee for service capabilities, like X-ray crystallography services for structure-based drug design and fragment-based screening, in Spain.
About the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF)
The ADDF (www.AlzDiscovery.org) is the only public charity whose sole mission is to accelerate the discovery and development of drugs to prevent, treat and cure Alzheimer's disease, related dementias and cognitive aging. Since 1998, the ADDF has granted more than $40 million to fund over 310 Alzheimer's drug discovery programs in academic centers and biotechnology companies in 16 countries.
SOURCE Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation