In exchange, the foundation, which has been a longtime partner of Oryzon, will receive shares of the company’s stock.
Oryzon develops epigenetics therapies, which regulate genome function without affecting the makeup of genes themselves. “Regulation of gene transcription has emerged as a key biological determinant of protein production and cellular differentiation and plays a significant pathogenic role in a number of human diseases,” it said.
The company is wrapping up a Phase 1 clinical trial of ORY-2001 at a university hospital in Barcelona. It is evaluating the treatment’s effectiveness, safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of the therapy in healthy people, including older adults. Pharmacokinetics refers to a drug’s movement through the body.
Oryzon, which discussed the Phase 1 trial at the Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s Diseases Congress in Vienna in March, is also doing pre-clinical trial studies of ORY-2001’s potential to treat neurodegenerative diseases.
Those studies, in mouse models of Alzheimer’s, have shown that ORY-2001 improved cognitive function, restored memory loss, and changed gene expression in the hippocampus area of the brain.
The $300,000 in foundation financing is for a Phase 2 clinical trial of ORY-2001 that the company expects to start this year. The money will help it develop biomarkers of response to the therapy that it can correlate with patient outcomes.
The foundation has been underwriting Oryzon’s epigenetic approach to treating Alzheimer’s since 2010. This time it will receive 82,029 shares of Oryzon priced at €3.410 per share in exchange for its financing. Those shares represent 0.24 of a percent of the company’s capitalization.
“Our continued investment in Oryzon reflects the ADDF’s belief in the promise of epigenetic therapies and Oryzon’s approach,” Dr. Howard Fillit, the foundation’s chief science officer, said in a press release. “The companion biomarker program is important for advancing ORY-2001 into later-stage clinical trials, and we are pleased to support its development.”
Oryzon Genomics is also developing epigenetic applications that can treat acute leukemia and small-cell lung cancer.
The company has offices in Barcelona and Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information, visit http://www.oryzon.com