Alchemab Therapeutics, an antibody discovery company that identifies natural antibodies from disease-resistant individuals, has unveiled data on ATLX-1088, a newly discovered preclinical Alzheimer’s candidate, at the Antibody Industrial Symposium in Tours, France.
ATLX-1088 is a class one potential human antibody that targets CD33, a cell surface protein thought to have a key role in Alzheimer’s disease. Studies have found that higher CD33 expression is associated with further cognitive decline and worsened disease status – because high CD33 levels inhibit the normal function of brain-dwelling immune cells called microglia, which maintain nerve tissue and repair damage.
After identifying a common antibody that is unique to individuals resistant to Alzheimer’s disease, Alchemab Therapeutics identified its target as CD33. By starting with the body’s response to disease, as opposed to the target itself, the Alchemab platform reverses the traditional ‘target-led’ drug discovery process. Consequently, the immune system is used as a search function to identify the most important disease-modifying targets.
An added benefit of this approach is that disease-modifying antibodies are already naturally optimized by the immune system, which could lead to potentially beneficial properties from a therapeutic perspective.
Young Kwon, chief executive officer of Alchemab Therapeutics, said: “Alchemab’s unique approach to antibody research has resulted in the discovery of ATLX-1088, which we hope will become a new therapy for Alzheimer’s. Despite the advances in the Alzheimer’s field in recent years, there is still a dire need for more and better therapies, and we hope that ATLX-1088 can become an important treatment option given its broad effects on microglial cell function.”
Fewer side effects for Alchemab Therapeutics CD33 binding antibody
Alchemab Therapeutics’ CD33 binding antibody has a novel mechanism of action, which, together with the data presented, demonstrates a favorable pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profile. This can produce potent drugs with fewer side effects.
Data presented at the symposium showed ATLX-1088 resulted in a significant increase in phagocytosis or removal of toxic amyloid beta protein by microglia which could help restore healthy brain cell function.
Jane Osbourn, chief scientific officer of Alchemab Therapeutics, said: “This is the first time we have disclosed data on an interesting drug candidate that targets CD33. There is strong evidence to suggest that removing CD33 results in lower levels of amyloid-beta and a reduced burden of amyloid plaques in the brain. We believe that ATLX-1088 can be an important step forward in medicine, potentially providing a much needed new therapy for patients with this debilitating disease.”
In December, the company received a £1.7 million grant to work on a treatment for Huntington’s disease. It also made our list, earlier this year, of the 10 biotech companies making a difference in rare diseases.
There are many other companies working on Alzheimer’s disease treatments. We recently published a review of some of the progress in this area over the past year.
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