A novel vaccine for treating Alzheimer's Disease (AD) could result from two research agreements recently signed by Neurochem.

A novel vaccine for treating Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) could result from two research agreements recently signed by Neurochem, a Canadian biotechnology company that specialises in neurological disorders. The agreements with the National Research Council of Canada’s Institute for Biological Sciences (IBS) and Praecis Pharmaecuticals, a US biotechnology company, relate to the development of a vaccine that shouldn’t cause the brain inflammation seen with other AD vaccines.

Neurochem will collaborate with IBS to discover and assess certain vaccine technologies in animal models. These technologies will be based on using certain peptide fragments from beta-amyloid, the protein that amalgamates into the plaques that are a hallmark of AD. Through its alliance with IBS, Neurochem will be able to work with Harold Jennings, a world leader in developing innovative conjugated vaccines, who has already helped produce meningitis vaccines.

Under its agreement with Praecis Pharmaceuticals, Neurochem will gain access to certain beta-amyloid peptide fragments isolated by Praecis, which Neurochem will use in its research collaboration with IBS. Financial terms of the agreements were not disclosed, but Neurochem will retain all commercial rights in any developed therapies.

These agreements build on previous research carried out by Neurochem, which has already demonstrated that a peptide fragment from the beta-amyloid protein can generate an immune reaction to the full protein in mice. The advantage of using a peptide fragment is that the resultant antibodies only attack the soluble form of the beta-amyloid protein rather than the plaques, which greatly reduces the risk of brain inflammation.

Jon Evans