The latest news:University of Washington spinout AltPep recently has raised $44.4 million, as per an regulator’s filing. The company has not yet made a public announcement about the filing, however founder as well as CEO Valerie Daggett spoke with GeekWire about the progress made by AltPep on its blood test, which is an experimental test to detect Alzheimer’s disease in the very beginning of its stages.
“We’re going after that first molecular trigger for the pathology,” Daggett said. Daggett who is the UW Professor of Bioengineering. The three-year-old startup is also working on a test for Parkinson’s disease, as well as treatments for both diseases.
Progressing:The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has recently awarded AltPep’s Alzheimer’s test the “breakthrough device” designation, placing it on the way to be reviewed with a higher priority. The company is currently developing an instrument for the test and has been in contact about potential partners, which include large diagnostic firms.
AltPep’s tests to detect Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are being utilized in preclinical studies for its potential treatments for these diseases. The tests should be approved prior to the start of the next clinical trial and could be utilized alongside the treatments, according to Daggett.
The company’s development: AltPep raised $23.1 million in an A round in January 2021. The round was led by Matrix Capital Investment with participation from Alexandria Venture Investments. AtlPep is found in Seattle’s Northlake neighborhood, currently has 25 employees and is currently hiring.
AltPep also employed the chief medical officer, Gilbert Block in the early days of. It’s not something many of startups have done, according to Daggett.
The research done at AltPep as well as in Daggett’s UW lab complement the one. “We can still do a lot of the basic research at UW and publish, and it can help inform what we’re doing with AltPep,” she added.
The people The other members of the executive team comprise Patrik Edenholm chief operating officer Charles Horne, chief financial officer; Kurt Becker, VP for legal and business development as well as Nancy Hill, chief product officer.
The Board of Directors includes Daggett, a biotech experienced Todd Patrick, Adaptive Biotechnologies co-founder and CEO Chad Robins, Matrix Capital Management co-founder David Goel; and Joel Marcus, executive chairman and co-founder Alexandria Real Estate Equities/Alexandria Investments.
How does it work: Toxic forms of Amyloid-beta’s molecule are believed to put Alzheimer’s disease in motion long before the signs of Alzheimer’s disease appear. The research of multiple labs suggests Amyloid-beta is a harmful “oligomers” that build up in the brain and cause many other pathologies. AltPep’s diagnostic identifies these oligomersthat are also found in the blood.
The company’s treatment for Alzheimer’s disease is based on the same oligomers, with an intention of taking over this disease long before it starts to set in. “It’s really important to go after the very earliest events,” Daggett said. Daggett.
More research:Daggett and her colleagues demonstrated that Oligomers have a particular 3-D structure when they are formed an alpha-sheet. Researchers also created matching peptides, tiny proteins that bind to the structure These peptides form the core of the company’s tests for Alzheimer’s disease and therapies known as SOBA (soluble binding of oligomers assay)-AD. AltPep has taken the same approach in developing treatment and diagnostic tests for Parkinson’s disease. The disease is also associated with an alpha-sheet-forming protein.
The state of the art: Despite decades of research and hundreds of clinical trials major breakthroughs in Alzheimer’s disease treatment remain unattainable. One reason, according to Daggett believes that the majority of research-based approaches are designed to target the disease even before it’s started, typically looking for Amyloid-beta before it’s developed into clumps of nasty material throughout the brain. This controversy-making Aduhelm, a new medication Aduhelm is primarily targeted at Amyloid-beta forms that are more common in later stages of the disease according to Daggett.
In the meantime, companies such as Seattle’s Athira Pharma are seekingtargets that are not Amyloid-beta.
A majority of the diagnostics that are experimental are intended to identify more advanced phases of disease according to Daggett. “So far, there hasn’t been a way to diagnose early enough, and there hasn’t been a way to treat early enough, and we’ve got that target,” added Daggett.