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Start-Up Spotlight: Innovative NeuroTechnologies, Inc.
Posted on January 27th, 2017 by Betsy Davis in Pharma R&D
We’re shining a light this week on Innovative NeuroTechnologies, Inc., based in sunny California. Founder, President & CEO Shawn Mojtahedian, Ph.D. talks about how the biotech is focusing on unmet need for a spectrum of disorders that currently have no effective therapies available.
Briefly describe what the company does.
Innovative NeuroTechnologies, Inc. (INT) is engaged in the development of novel biologically-based and disease-modifying therapeutic strategies (e.g., biopharmaceuticals) to prevent, delay, or mitigate the underlying dementia or cognitive decline associated with a spectrum of neurodegenerative disorders referred to as tauopathies.
Tell us about INT’s background, and what the company aims to achieve.
INT is a development-stage biotechnology company operating in “virtual mode” that is currently pursuing a pipeline of novel therapeutic solutions to fight the dementia or cognitive deficits associated with neurodegenerative tauopathies, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), frontotemporal dementia (FTD or Pick’s disease), chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) or dementia pugilistica, progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), corticobasal degeneration (CBD), and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD).
The pathology of these seemingly disparate conditions is similar in that they involve dysregulation of the Tau protein and development of neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs), synaptic dysfunction, and/or neuronal loss, which underlie the observed dementia or cognitive deficits. With no effective therapies currently available for this spectrum of disorders, INT wants to tackle this unmet medical need.
What is special about INT’s research?
What differentiates INT from other companies is our focus on the underlying mechanisms responsible for Tau dysregulation and dementias. We are developing disease-modifying biotherapeutics to prevent, delay, or ameliorate the cognitive deficits resulting from tauopathies, such as those in AD, FTD, or CTE, using passive immunization. This will at least delay onset or mitigate these dementias.
In addition, INT intends to target an orphan indication, such as PSP or CBD, with its anti-Tau candidates to gain prospective “fast-track” designation through the FDA with smaller and more cost-effective clinical trials.
Why is this important now?
Unfortunately, there are no effective and disease-modifying therapies presently available for neurodegenerative tauopathies such as AD, FTD, and CTE, and this particular spectrum of disorders remain a very significant socioeconomic burden and tremendous unmet need, especially with the ever-growing aging population worldwide. Rather than focusing on one particular pathology associated with dementias (e.g., beta-amyloid plaques), INT is focused on addressing the underlying cause of dementias. This will allow INT to develop potential disease-modifying therapies for the cognitive impairment or memory loss typically seen in AD, CTE, and other related tauopathies.
In addition, due to the very high incidence of dementia and onset of various neurological problems observed in military personnel or soldiers who have suffered blast injuries in the battlefield and athletes engaged in contact sports, traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) and CTE are currently of great interest to the U.S. Military/Department of Defense (DoD) and professional sports (e.g., American football, ice hockey, wrestling, soccer, rugby, and boxing), respectively. It is quite evident at this point that, as a society, we need to take a concerted effort to protect these individuals and their respective families from the devastating impact and decrease in quality of life that results from the onset of dementia and other cognitive impairments as a consequence of repeated brain injuries and head trauma!
What will the next steps of the company be?
INT is developing three monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against three separate and key epitopes of Tau, which address three proposed mechanisms of pathogenesis, as potential passive immunotherapies for tauopathies. Our main objective is to advance one or more of our current Tau-based immunotherapeutic candidates into Phase I clinical trials within the next 3-4 years. INT is solidly focused on modulation of Tau as the primary means of preventing or reducing the cognitive or memory deficits observed in tauopathies. These programs provide INT with a strong portfolio of candidates and position the company as a very attractive acquisition target.
Are you currently looking for partners or investment?
INT is seeking an investment of $5 million to undertake a Phase I clinical trial of its most promising anti-Tau mAb candidate. Due to the considerable increase in valuation achieved through the successful completion of such a trial, we will take at least one of our anti-Tau program into Phase I within the next 3-4 years as a prospective novel treatment for tauopathies before partnering or selling the company.
To get in contact with Shawn Mojtahedian, Ph.D., or to follow Innovative NeuroTechnologies:
All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.
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