The Silicon Review
Innovation in neurodegeneration
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, because of generalized degeneration of the brain. It is the commonest cause of premature senility. This is one of the growing problems in today’s generation and it is because of this TauRx had to come in the market. It is now a leader in Alzheimer’s disease research, TauRx’s mission is to discover, develop and commercialise innovative products for the diagnosis, treatment and cure of neurodegenerative diseases caused by protein aggregation.
From initial discovery through preclinical development to clinical trials, regulatory submission and product registration, we are harnessing world-class proprietary drug discovery platforms with the aim of halting the progression of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases with innovative treatments and diagnostics.
The company’s novel tau aggregation inhibitors (TAIs) target the formation (aggregation) of tau protein ‘tangles’ in the brain. The spread of tau tangles – the main driver in Alzheimer’s disease – is strongly correlated with dementia and they can develop in the brain up to 20 years before symptoms associated with dementia develop. TAIs work by dissolving existing tau aggregates and preventing the further aggregation of tau protein from forming new tangles.
The Company’s Speciality
The lead compound, LMTX®, inhibits aggregation of tau, synuclein, TPD-43 and huntingtin proteins. Patented as a novel chemical entity and chemically distinct from TauRx’s initial research compound, rember®, LMTX® has shown promise for slowing disease progression in Alzheimer’s disease and behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia.
Three LMTX® Phase 3 clinical trials, conducted in over 20 countries and involving over 1,900 patients, have recently completed. Following these Phase 3 trials, TauRx has started a new clinical trial, named LUCIDITY.
TauRx’s second-generation tau aggregation inhibitor (TAI), LMTX®, is a novel chemical form of methylthioninium (MT). In its chloride salt form (methylene blue, or methylthioninium chloride (MTC)) it is an active moiety with a long history of use in the treatment of a variety of conditions.
LMTX® works by undoing the tangles that cause dementia, thereby slowing and even arresting memory loss. This second-generation investigational drug has improved bioavailability, tolerability and safety compared with its predecessor, rember®, which was used in Phase 2 clinical trials in Alzheimer’s.
TauRx has a composition of matter patents and use patents covering the application of its TAIs for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer’s and FTD. The company is also exploring the use of TAIs in several other neurodegenerative diseases associated with tau pathology, as well as other disorders deriving from the aggregation of other proteins in the brain, including Parkinson’s and Huntington’s.
How It All Began
More than two decades ago, Professor Claude Wischik, a Professor of Psychiatric Geratology at the University of Aberdeen, and his team of bioscientists pioneered the early-stage research into tau aggregation inhibitors (TAIs) to specifically slow and halt the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. With the results of this foundational research showing promise, TauRx was founded to continue the work towards the development of an effective treatment for the disease and remains closely linked to the University of Aberdeen to this day. A privately held company, TauRx’s strong research team has been established through cooperative relationships with multiple academic institutions around the world and has managed to thrive innovatively while delivering valuable results in a new era of medicine.
Having pioneered a new pathway to treat Alzheimer’s disease, TauRx presented the results of a large Phase 2 clinical trial involving 321 patients with mild and moderate Alzheimer’s in 2008. This study was conducted in the UK and Singapore and involved TauRx’s first-generation TAI, rember®. The results were reported at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference on Alzheimer's Disease in Chicago, the USA in the same year and showed that the rate of Alzheimer’s progression was reduced by 90% over a 2-year period.
These findings were tested in Phase 3 clinical trials, now completed, with the company’s second-generation TAI, LMTX®. The clinical trial programme involved over 1,900 patients and comprised three separate trials: two in Alzheimer's disease and one in the rare neurodegenerative disorder, behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia.
The Brains behind the Operations
Prof. Claude Wischik - Co-Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive
Professor Wischik is board-certified in psychiatry and a professor of Old Age Psychiatry at the University of Aberdeen, Scotland. A pioneer in Tau research, he discovered the tau protein compositional structure of the Alzheimer’s tangles and established that it was possible to dissolve tangles with pharmaceutically viable compounds that act as Tau Aggregation Inhibitors.
“Taurx exists to solve and beat the world’s biggest challenges – Alzheimer disease and other degenerative brain diseases via a completely new approach.”