QR Pharma Develops Drugs To Treat Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 26 million people worldwide. This number is expected to grow to more than 106 million in 2050. Its economic burden and impact on patient wellness and quality of life for both patients and their caregivers is crushing. The Italian poet Cesar Pavese captured the devastation of Alzheimer’s Disease best when he said, “The richness of life lies in memories.”

Today, existing drugs manage the symptoms and provide only marginal cost-benefit trade offs. Therefore, it is imperative to bring drugs to market that stop the progression of the disease. QR Pharma, Inc. is a privately held pharmaceutical company founded to develop novel drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease.

The company has two compounds in clinical development, both with disease modifying activities; they have the potential to stop the progression of the disease as well as symptomatic efficacy. Both compounds, Posiphen® and Bisnorcymserine (BNC) inhibit amyloid formation and may prevent the progression of the disease. However, their distinct and different characteristics makes Posiphen® better suited for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and early AD and BNC for late and advanced AD.

Leaders in the field of Alzheimer’s disease used to believe that targeting the accumulation of amyloid, a hydrophobic, neurotoxic self-aggregating 40 to 42 amino acid peptide that accumulates preferentially within senile plaques in the brain, will change the course of AD. More recently, a second hypothesis expanded on the Ab hypothesis by stating that amyloid precursor protein  in the absence of trophic factors is shed from the surface of neuronal cells and processed into an amino terminal fragment (that binds to DR6 receptors and induces nerve cell death. Furthermore, the Bredesen Lab identified another factor that is cleaved from the C-terminal end of APP – C31 – and causes nerve cell degeneration and death in tissue culture cells and in transgenic mice. They could show that over expression of the C31 peptide leads to neuronal degeneration without Ab toxicity and plaque deposition.

In all three cases reducing APP synthesis could be beneficial to the brain, because through the Aß pathway neurotoxic plaque is reduced and through the inhibition of toxic N- and C- terminal fragments nerve cell death is inhibited and brain cells are preserved.

QR Pharma conducted a phase I/II in cognitive impaired patients with its lead compound and showed that Posiphen enters the brain and lowers the levels of amyloid precursor protein and tau by 40% back to the levels found in healthy, normal volunteers. Recently QR Pharma also received FDA clearance to conduct clinical trials with its second novel Alzheimer compound, Bisnorcymserine.

The company  is considering partnerships to maximize the commercial potential of its product pipeline.

QR Pharma was awarded the Life Sciences Award for Best Early Stage Company by the Philadelphia Business Journal in October of 2010 and was a presenting company at OneMedForum SF 2011.

Other companies making advancements in the field of Alzheimer’s Disease include but are not limited to Adeona Pharmaceuticals Inc, Intellect Neurosciences, and Neurotez Inc.

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