Avraham Pharmaceuticals has raised $3 million from Yissum Research Development Company Ltd., the technology transfer arm of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Pontifax, Clal Biotechnology Industries (CBI), Technion Research and Development Foundation Ltd. (TRDF), Professor Marta Weinstock-Rosin and others. This investment round follows a U.S. $9 million financing in April, 2010. Avraham Pharmaceuticals will use the newly invested capital to pursue two advanced product development programs for ladostigil, a novel molecule designed for the treatment of various neurodegenerative diseases. The company will continue to advance its on-going double-blind, placebo-controlled, Phase II, proof-of-concept trial in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, at 20 sites in five countries across Europe. In addition, Avraham intends to begin a 36-month, multi-centre, randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study to evaluate the safety and efficacy of ladostigil in patients diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). The later study is expected to commence in the first quarter of 2012. Ladostigil is a novel cholinesterase and brain-selective monoamine oxidase inhibitor, and neuroprotective agent for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, mild cognitive impairment and other neurodegenerative diseases. Like other cholinesterase inhibitors currently on the market, ladostigil targets symptomatic relief in Alzheimer’s patients. But unlike these drugs, ladostigil, which also causes brain selective inhibition of monoamine oxidase (MAO) provides the potential to improve the behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia such as depression and anxiety. Moreover, ladostigil has the potential to slow progression of clinical symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease for sustained periods of time and to modify the pathology associated with the disease. In addition, the neuroprotective activity of ladostigil provides a drug candidate that may have the potential to slow progression to Alzheimer’s disease in patients diagnosed with MCI. This potential has been amply demonstrated in animal models, especially in studies of ageing rats.
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