Updated on 24 August 2012
Prana's lead development asset PBT2 is being tested for Alzheimer's disease and Huntington disease
Singapore: Prana Biotechnology, listed with the ASX, has reported progress in the phase II clinical trials with its lead development asset PBT2. PBT2 has a unique therapeutic action that can benefit people suffering neurodegenerative disease because of its specialized ability to prevent the toxic relationship between disease proteins and biological metals in the brain.
"There is mounting evidence that compounds that can restore metal homeostasis in the neuron can stop and even reverse cognitive decline associated with neurodegenerative diseases. We think Prana's PBT2 could be such a compound," said senior biotech analyst Dr George Zavoico of New York-based MLV Equity Research.
The Alzheimer's disease trial, IMAGINE, is a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial is enrolling 40 patients with prodromal or mild Alzheimer's disease in five sites in Melbourne, Australia. Brain imaging is being used to measure PBT2's effect on amyloid deposits in the brain (using PiB-PET scanning) and effects on increasing brain activity (FDG PET). Cognition effects are being measured by the Neuropsychological Test Battery (NTB).
"The results of the IMAGINE trial will be closely watched by the Alzheimer's community, given the recent failure of several late-stage therapeutic candidates. We believe that PBT2's mechanism of action explains the clinical benefits that the drug has already shown, and we anticipate positive results from this trial," said Mr Geoffrey Kempler, chief executive officer of Prana. The trial has received funding from the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF).
Dr Howard Fillit, ADDF's executive director, commented, "PBT2 stands out as one of the few orally available agents with clinical trial evidence of cognitive benefit for Alzheimer's patients. Success in this trial will demonstrate target engagement by PBT2 in the brain of people with Alzheimer's disease, and accelerate the clinical development of PBT2 to patients."