ProMIS Neurosciences, Inc. (TSX: PMN) (OTCQB: ARFXF), a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of antibody therapeutics targeting misfolded proteins such as toxic oligomers implicated in the development of neurodegenerative diseases, announced today that it has initiated a program to develop monoclonal antibodies to treat schizophrenia and other chronic mental illnesses. Schizophrenia is a clinical term for a severely disabling neuropsychiatric disease that disrupts employment, families and communities, and likely has heterogenous biological origins.
The biomedical literature has implicated protein misfolding as one cause of schizophrenia. A candidate for a key misfolding protein in schizophrenia was first identified in a Scottish family with a neurodevelopmental syndrome including schizophrenia, such that the gene was named “disrupted in schizophrenia” (DISC1). DISC1, and its genetically-linked protein interactors in the brain, represent a new platform target for ProMIS, given its outstanding track record of predicting and validating misfolding-specific epitopes using proprietary computational approaches.
Dr. Carsten Korth, biological psychiatrist and pioneer on the role of DISC1 in chronic mental illness, has been recruited to the ProMIS Scientific Advisory Board to share his expertise and scientific acumen on this subject. Dr. Korth, a board-certified psychiatrist and Professor of Molecular Neuropathology at University of Dusseldorf, has found that DISC1 pathological aggregates can be detected in the brains of persons dying with sporadic schizophrenia, and that overexpression of human DISC1 leading to DISC1 aggregates in a rat model leads to signs of mental illness similar to those seen in human patients. “ProMIS is now digging deep into the biological basis and treatment for these psychotic scourges of mankind; it is a pleasure to participate and advise on such an effort,” stated Dr. Korth.
“We now have tools – including ProMIS’ proprietary computational algorithms – to approach schizophrenia and related diseases for druggable misfolded protein targets,” stated Dr. Neil Cashman, ProMIS’ Chief Scientific Officer. “This represents a true confluence of opportunity for ProMIS in psychiatric diseases, just like we have accomplished for neurodegenerative diseases.”
ProMIS Neurosciences, Inc. is a development stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing antibody therapeutics selectively targeting misfolded proteins such as toxic misfolded oligomers implicated in the development and progression of neurodegenerative diseases, in particular Alzheimer’s disease (AD), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). The Company’s proprietary target discovery engine is based on the use of two complementary computational modeling techniques. The Company applies its molecular dynamics, computational discovery platform -ProMIS™ and Collective Coordinates – to predict novel targets known as Disease Specific Epitopes on the molecular surface of misfolded proteins. ProMIS is headquartered in Toronto, Ontario, with offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts. ProMIS is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol PMN, and on the OTCQB Venture Market under the symbol ARFXF
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