Vaccine to Progress from Current Animal Studies to First Clinical Study Next Year
NFL Broadcaster Solomon Wilcots to Team with Chief Medical Officer Ajay Verma to Discuss Program Opportunity This Week in Minneapolis
DUBLIN, Jan. 29, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — United Neuroscience, Inc. (UNS) today announced plans for the development of a vaccine for the prevention of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). CTE is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects people with a history of repetitive brain trauma, including athletes who participate in contact sports – football, hockey, boxing and others – as well as military personnel and victims of domestic violence.
Currently in studies in animal models of CTE, UNS’s synthetic peptide vaccine is designed to train the body to generate antibodies toward aggregated forms of an abnormal protein called tau. Repetitive brain trauma leads to the build-up of tau aggregates and degeneration of brain tissue. Data suggest that these changes may begin early and progress for years or decades after the last brain trauma, eventually leading to symptoms of CTE: memory loss, depression, suicidal thoughts, explosive or aggressive behavior, and walking and speaking difficulties. The antibodies generated naturally by UNS’s vaccine can recognize aggregated tau and inhibit or help remove tau aggregates. UNS expects to initiate its first clinical studies related to CTE next year.
“The CTE program and other pioneering work with vaccine candidates, which we call endobody vaccines, are based on a series of platform technologies that we have developed over 20 years," said Mei Mei Hu, chief executive officer of UNS. “Products of the proprietary technologies have made an impact on animal health, and our Alzheimer’s vaccine program with lead candidate UB-311 is in mid-stage clinical testing. Our CTE program opportunity is significant and reflects our commitment to transforming the lives of patients and the families affected by neurodegenerative diseases. We look forward to advancing this vaccine candidate."
Ajay Verma, M.D., Ph.D., chief medical officer of UNS and a U.S. military veteran, added, “The opportunity to tackle the seemingly impossible is what brought me to UNS. The encouraging safety and immunogenicity data we have seen to date with our Alzheimer’s program has motivated us to rapidly expand our clinical pipeline. We believe we can re-invent the vaccine approach to address a host of chronic diseases. Moreover, vulnerable populations at risk for certain occupational injuries could in fact be protected from harm using our approach. Our vaccine approach makes good medical sense for CTE, a disorder in which aggregated tau is implicated. The premise is that we can teach a person’s immune system to recognize the build-up of toxic tau aggregates and prevent or heal these lesions as they form, thereby avoiding progression to CTE. Our approach would also have potential as a therapeutic, but the concept of vaccinating a football player or soldier before he or she steps onto the respective ‘battle field’ is what we envision."
As part of the program introduction, Dr. Verma and NFL broadcaster Solomon Wilcots will discuss the medical need and opportunity for the CTE vaccine program with journalists Jan. 30-31 on Super Bowl Radio Row in Minneapolis. In conjunction with this, UNS has produced a video with former professional football player Ron Pitts about what a vaccine for CTE prevention could mean to families that often struggle with decisions as to members’ participation in contact sports. Ron’s father, Elijah Pitts, was a member of Vince Lombardi’s world championship Green Bay Packers teams. Today, Ron’s sons play football for two major college programs. Click here to watch the video:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YlUmnXP5z7I.
About United Neuroscience
United Neuroscience Inc. (UNS) is a clinical-stage biotech company dedicated to the development of best-in-class immunotherapeutics for the brain. A global company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, with operations in Taiwan and the United States, UNS was founded to address the social and economic burden of Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases and seeks to rapidly advance candidates into and through clinical trials with the goal of delivering breakthrough treatments to patients. For more information please visit www.unitedneuroscience.com. Follow UNS on Twitter at https://twitter.com/UNSTechBio and on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/company/unitedneuroscience.