Partnership Seeks to Develop New Therapies

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by Forest Ray PhD |

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Alligator Bioscience and BioArctic AB have partnered to research and develop new therapies for neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

“We are very pleased that BioArctic has recognized the power of Alligator’s proprietary phage display libraries which have been successfully used to generate Alligator’s suite of immuno-oncology programs,” Malin Carlsson, MD, PhD, interim CEO of Alligator Bioscience, said in a press release.

“The application of this technology to the neurodegenerative field demonstrates the broad applicability of our powerful platform,” she added.

A phage display library is used to screen large numbers of proteins for potential interactions with other biological molecules, an example being testing whether an immune system antibody might recognize proteins found along the surfaces of cancer cells.

The library consists of bacteriophages — viruses that infect bacteria — outfitted to contain the gene for a specific protein of interest. The bacteriophage, or simply “phage,” reads this gene and generates the corresponding protein, which it then “displays” on its outer surface. Researchers mix these phages with other clinically important molecules to essentially see what sticks and how well.

The technique has the advantages of being able to screen large numbers of proteins simultaneously, and of being relatively simple and cost-effective.

BioArctic focuses on developing disease-modifying therapies for neurodegenerative diseases, placing their greatest focus on Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. They are particularly interested in using antibodies to selectively stop malformed alpha-synuclein — a protein whose toxic aggregates hasten Parkinson’s — from passing between nerve cells.

Alpha-synuclein’s exact biological function remains unknown, but scientists think it helps control proper neuron function and communication. The loss of neurons in Parkinson’s, particularly those that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine, underlies the disorder.

BioArctic launched a Phase 1 study (NCT04127695) of one such antibody candidate, ABBV-0805, in collaboration with AbbVie in 2019, although this was later withdrawn for “strategic considerations.”

BioArctic is currently developing two more antibody candidate therapies, PD1601 and PD1602, also targeting alpha-synuclein.

“BioArctic’s focus is to develop new treatments to help patients with neurological diseases,” said Johanna Fälting, vice president and head of research at BioArctic. “We are looking forward to working together with Alligator, utilizing their phage display platform, in the development of new antibody therapeutic candidates with novel mechanisms of action.”

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