10.10.2016 Asceneuron SA, an emerging leader in the development of innovative small molecules for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced it has been awarded a research grant from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. The grant will support studies for the optimization of molecules to provide preclinical proof of concept.
The grant of the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) has been awarded for the further development of positive allosteric modulators of the M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (M1 PAMs). M1 PAMs induce a change in the shape of the receptor, enhancing binding to the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. As a result, receptor activity is potentiated so that it can fulfil its signaling functions, critical for cognition, even in situations where acetylcholine levels are reduced, as observed in dementia.
Asceneuron has already identified suitable lead molecules and will use its expertise in the field of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors and CNS drug development to achieve this objective. As this important receptor is critically involved in learning and memory, M1 PAMs have the potential as novel and efficacious medications to treat cognitive deficits in Parkinson’s disease dementia patients.
Commenting on the award, Dirk Beher (PhD), chief executive officer and co-founder of Asceneuron, said: “We are very excited to advance this approach to treating an underserved need. We expect our understanding of the novel biological interactions between M1 PAMs and the M1 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor to yield a Parkinson’s dementia therapy with potentially greater selectivity, fewer side effects and longer durability of effect.”
Marco Baptista (PhD), director of research programs at MJFF, added: “M1 PAMs could provide a new treatment option for Parkinson’s dementia, a critical current unmet need. We believe Asceneuron is making promising progress toward this goal.”