BY OUR PLATFORMS
BY THERAPEUTIC AREA
17 February 2020
Image Credits: DZNE. Dr Caghan Kizil laboratory.
Barcelona. February 2020. In 2007 Sir Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with posterior cortical atrophy (PCA), a rare form of Alzheimer's disease (AD or "the embuggerance" as he always said) and, after writing 14 books during his illness, he died in 2015. For any literature lover, fantastic or not, such a loss is irreversible. But if something leaves us Pratchett's legacy, it is the conviction that only by expending resources in the research field, can we someday overcome this disease.
And today, we can say that ZeClinics has taken a step in that direction, since we have formalized a license agreement with Dr. Caghan Kizil from the Deutsches Zentrum für Neurodegenerative Erkrankungen which will allow us to commercially exploit several lines of neurodegenerative models in zebrafish, including Alzheimer's ones.
“Having these licensed models will allow us to accelerate our own internal R&D on the one hand, and offer excellent scientific services in our efficacy portfolio”, said Dr. Davide D´Amico, ZeClinics CEO and follows “there is a real need to have models of neurodegenerative diseases in the market for research purposes; many people are waiting for a solution."
Among neural disorders, Alzheimer’s has become a paradigm of untreatable disease. AD affects ~30 million people worldwide, 2/3 of all patients with dementia, and costs $1 trillion/year in caregiving, forecasted to double by 2030. Unfortunately, no drugs are available to cure the disease completely; and 200 drug development pipelines failed during the last 15 years.
“In our laboratory, we use zebrafish as a model organism because it can efficiently regenerate lost neurons. After generating neurodegeneration models in adult zebrafish brain, like the ones we licensed to ZeClinics, we study the regeneration capacity of zebrafish brain” said Dr. Caghan Kizil, and follows “This research path is important as to provide us with novel molecular understanding that could be harnessed in human brains for generating new neurons in disease conditions.”
In fact, zebrafish is the perfect model to decrease both cost and time research while providing relevant biological information about the role of implicated disease-related genes and the efficacy of novel molecules. This follows from the translational advantages of the zebrafish models: small size, optical transparency, the high number of progenies, high genomic homology (82%), and organ analogy, including the Central Nervous System (CNS), with humans.
Both partners are confident that by joining efforts they will be able to better understand the biological function of Alzheimer's disease and identify putative new therapeutic targets and molecules for the future development of neurodegenerative therapies.
About ZeClinics: ZeClinics is an innovative biotech firm committed to streamlining discovery and preclinical development of novel compounds with zebrafish, an ideal vertebrate model for fast, cost-effective and highly predictive assessments. ZeClinics combines in-house academic expertise with a diversified, cutting-edge portfolio: from CRISPR-licensed gene editing, high-throughput safety and efficacy assays to disease models. For more information: www.zeclinics.com
About DZNE: The DZNE was founded in 2009 as a member of the Helmholtz Association and as the first of the German Centres for Health Research (DZG).The DZNE is dedicated to neurodegenerative diseases in all its facets. To cover this diversity, the DZNE pursues an interdisciplinary research strategy that comprises four interconnected areas: Fundamental research, clinical research, health care research, and population research. In line with this agenda, DZNE experts cooperate across sites and disciplines to promote translation of research findings into practical application.