ImmunoBrain Checkpoint awarded Alzheimer’s Association grant to support Phase I trial investigating novel immunotherapeutic approach to treat Alzheimer’s disease
NEW YORK, Tuesday September 1, 2020 – ImmunoBrain Checkpoint Inc. (“IBC”) announced today that it has been awarded a $1,000,000 grant from the Alzheimer’s Association under the 2020 Part the Cloud-Bill Gates Partnership Grant Program to support a phase 1 clinical trial to examine safety and activity of its proprietary antibody, IBC-Ab002, targeted to enhance the immune system and induce brain repair processes in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease.
Currently there are no approved therapies for Alzheimer’s disease that can modify the disease course. IBC is developing treatments for neurodegenerative diseases by harnessing the power of the immune system to help protect and repair the brain. Based on studies pioneered by Professor Michal Schwartz at the Weizmann Institute of Science, demonstrating that the immune system is needed for the maintenance of healthy brain function and repair, but may be impaired in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, IBC has developed a proprietary anti-PD-L1 antibody aimed to restore and boost the immune system to protect brain function.
If successful, IBC’s therapy will be a first-of-its kind approach to change the course of Alzheimer’s disease and arrest its progression. The success of this therapeutic approach would lead to a broad understanding of how the immune system helps protect the brain and would contribute to the understanding of the biology of Alzheimer’s disease.
“Seeing the robustness of the effect in so many animal models and on both symptoms and disease pathology, reinforces my optimism that we are activating a general mechanism needed for brain repair in these devastating conditions that will overcome many of the unique complexities of Alzheimer’s disease,” said Professor Schwartz, IBC’s Chief Scientist. “On a personal note, I am very grateful to the Part the Cloud program for its belief and support in our novel therapy.”
Dr. Jesse Cedarbaum, IBC’s Chief Medical Officer, said: “Aging is the major risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s disease. With aging comes the seemingly paradoxical phenomena of ‘inflammaging’ and ‘immune exhaustion and senescence’. IBC-Ab002 is an antibody that has been designed to rebalance the immune system to provide neuroprotection in Alzheimer’s disease and perhaps other neurodegenerative disorders. We thank the Alzheimer’s Association-Bill Gates partnership for its recognition that augmenting the body’s natural defenses could be an important avenue for treating Alzheimer’s disease.”
Dr. Philip Scheltens, Director of the Alzheimer Center at the VU University Medical Center in Amsterdam and IBC’s Phase 1 study Principal Investigator, said: “I am pleased that the Alzheimer’s Association Part the Cloud partnership recognizes the innovative approach of IBC, supporting its progress to the clinic. I am confident that these funds will help the IBC team to progress its therapeutic target through the clinical study here at Amsterdam UMC.”
About ImmunoBrain Checkpoint
ImmunoBrain Checkpoint (IBC) is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel disease-modifying immune therapies to combat neurodegenerative diseases, and in particular, Alzheimer’s disease. IBC’s IP platform emerged from the lab of Prof. Michal Schwartz and licensed from Yeda, the commercialization arm of the Weizmann Institute. IBC’s technology is based on more than 20 years of studies by Schwartz’s team, who pioneered the idea that the brain engages in a life-long healthy dialogue with the immune system for its maintenance and repair, and that this communication is compromised in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Schwartz’s team has demonstrated that loosening the restraints from the immune system using antibodies that target inhibitory immune checkpoints (commonly expressed by exhausted immune cells), can rewire brain/immune communication, and thereby protect the brain from functional loss.
In January 2020 IBC received a $500,000 grant from the ALS Association to pursue a novel immunotherapeutic approach to treat ALS and identify optimal immune-checkpoint pathways to target. www.ibcheckpoint.com
IBC-Ab002 is a proprietary antibody developed by IBC to target restraining immune system molecules, and thereby enable a neuroprotective immunological cascade to combat the effects of neurodegenerative proteinopathy. The antibody has been specifically optimized for IBC’s therapeutic mechanism of action. In preclinical studies, anti-PD-L1 treatment was found to be effective in four different models of Alzheimer’s disease, including both amyloid and tau transgenic mice. In these studies, anti-PD-L1 antibody treatment reduced both cognitive deficits and toxic pathological proteins that accumulate in the brain. It is the first therapy to harness the body’s own immune mechanism of repair to rewire the communication between the body and the brain.
IBC-Ab002 has also been shown to have an improved safety profile relative to other antibodies of this family with respect to inducing immune-mediated adverse effects in mouse models. IBC plans to start its first-in-human clinical trial in Q4 2021 in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease.
About the Part the Cloud-Gates Partnership Grant Program
As the world’s largest nonprofit funder of Alzheimer’s research, the Alzheimer’s Association is committed to accelerating the global effort to eliminate Alzheimer’s. The Association’s Part the Cloud program aims to accelerate the translation of possible therapeutics in the clinical setting. Bill Gates and Part the Cloud have partnered to accelerate research exploring specific areas of neurodegeneration, neuroinflammation, and immune responses that contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s and dementia. For more information, visit http://www.alz.org/speed
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