ND Biosciences announced today that it was awarded a grant by The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) for its Biomarkers and Diagnostic development program. The grant was awarded jointly to ND Biosciences and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases, group of Prof. Markus Zweckstetter.
One of the main challenges for developing therapeutics to treat Parkinson’s disease (PD) is having reliable biomarkers that show meaningful changes during disease progression, distinguish different PD subtypes, or distinguish PD from other neurodegenerative disorders.
Recently, several assays based on the amplification of aggregated forms of the protein alpha-synuclein (α-Syn) in cerebrospinal fluid or skin biopsies have shown promise in differentiating PD from control cases with high accuracy. However, these assays are not yet robust enough to be used to monitor disease progression or stratify PD patients.
In this project, ND Biosciences will apply its unique technologies and expertise in protein engineering, biochemistry, and assay development to expand the capabilities of seed amplification assays to allow for differentiating between PD and other neurodegenerative diseases. The second aim is to increase the sensitivity of these assays to monitor disease progression and evaluate the efficacy of new therapies.
“We thank MJFF for inviting ND Biosciences to be part of the consortium aimed at characterizing and validatingα-Synseed amplification assays and for their confidence in our technology, unique platforms and capabilities,” said Bilal Fares, Director of R&D at ND Biosciences.
NDBiosciences will also work closely with Prof. Markus Zweckstetter and his team to explore the potential of discovering structural biomarkers that would enable distinguishing PD from other synucleinopathies, and to systematically assess the reproducibility, sensitivity, and specificity of all newly developed assays. “We are very excited to team up with Prof. Zweckstetter and his team and combine our expertise and capabilities to develop assays that have the potential of transforming drug discovery and clinical care for Parkinson’s patients”, said Hilal Lashuel, co-founder and CSO of NDBiosciences.
ND Biosciences was founded to develop next-generation therapeutics and diagnostics for neurodegenerative diseases (NDs).
The therapies developed at ND Biosciences focus on treating both early and late stages of NDs. This is accomplished by developing combination therapies that prevent the initiation of pathological protein aggregation observed in NDs, and that neutralize the activities of existing protein aggregates.
ND Biosciences has developed integrated proprietary platforms that enable its transformative drug discovery and preclinical development programs. These platforms are based on unique capabilities and model systems that allow ND Biosciences to:
1. Reverse-engineer the complexity of protein aggregates observed in NDs under controlled conditions
2. Model key processes underlying the formation of protein pathologies and neurodegeneration in living neurons
3. Develop novel companion diagnostic assays and imaging agents that capture the diversity and complexity of protein pathology in patient’s brains