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3 February, 2006 - 14:22 By Staff Reporter

Million pound investment for age-related disease company

A Cambridge company has received a £1m boost in its bid to combat Alzheimer’s Disease.

Senexis, which moved to the Babraham Research Campus from its origins at UMIST in Manchester, has received £1m from investors the Wellcome Trust and BTG. Following on from the deal, Senexis has also been granted an exclusive license by BTG for a series of compounds that inhibit amyloid-induced toxicity and neuroinflammation.

It is hoped that the compounds will be useful in the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and other amyloid-based diseases

It is estimated that diseases resulting from amyloidosis affect over 50 million people in the developed world today and the prevalence of all ageing-related diseases is likely to double by 2030. A variety of seemingly unrelated degenerative diseases have all been linked to a fundamental pathogenic process of protein/peptide aggregation of amyloid-like proteins. In each case, a specific protein or peptide clumps together to form toxic soluble oligomers and insoluble amyloid-like fibres that can produce inappropriate inflammation.

Toxic soluble oligomers and inflammation are widely believed to cause the progressive degeneration of the cells associated with these diseases.

BTG will receive milestones payments as the compounds progress though development and future royalties on eventual sales. The first milestones will be triggered by candidate selection and approval to commence clinical studies.

Senexis is currently focused on the principal four of those ageing-related diseases: Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, diabetes and renal disease.

Senexis is headed up by Mark Treherne, formerly chairman of bio-networking organisation, ERBI and founder of Cambridge Drug Discovery, which was subsequently acquired by BioFocus.

Treherne said: “We are pleased that Senexis has been able to in-license these compounds to add to our existing portfolio of novel compounds. We look forward to being able to accelerate their development towards the clinic.”

 BTG and the technology transfer division of the Wellcome Trust each invested £500k in Senexis to enable the company to progress preclinical development of its small molecule Alzheimer’s programmes. The two investors initial funded Senexis to the tune of £1.4 million in November 2002.

The number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to double over the next two decades. Currently, five million people in the US alone are affected by the disease.



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