BRNI, Neurotrope BioScience Team Up to Battle Alzheimer's Disease
Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute recently formed a partnership with Neurotrope BioScience to confront and tackle the devastating reality of Alzheimer’s disease.
More than 5.5 million people in the United States suffer from the neurodegenerative disease. That number is expected to triple by 2050. It is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, and costs the country hundreds of billions of dollars annually in health care costs.
“You are talking about an incalculable burden, an absolutely unsustainable burden for the United States and for any country,” said Dr. Dan Alkon, scientific director at Blanchette Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, or BRNI. “We’re talking about a tidal wave.”
BRNI has its headquarters in West Virginia and labs at Johns Hopkins Montgomery County. Neuroptrope BioScience is based in Plantation, Fla. In addition to his duties with BRNI, Alkon is now the chief scientific officer of Neurotrope BioScience. He works alongside Dr. Jim New, president and chief executive of Neurotrope BioScience.
Teaming with Neurotrope BioScience makes sense, Alkon said: “They bring money and expertise in marketing and financial structure and working with the clinical trials.”
The goal of the partnership is to commercially introduce a new, noninvasive skin test to detect early-stage Alzheimer’s disease by 2014; and to launch phase two clinical trials of drugs used to treat Alzheimer’s, as well as other memory and cognition disorders stemming from neurodegenerative disease.
“It’s the highest form of validation of the science to show it works in humans,” Alkon said.
The partnership hopes to introduce an experimental medicine in 2018.
“Our long-range plans are to advance several drug candidates in this arena to marketing approval by the FDA,” Alkon said in a news release. “This will take time and money, but we have great momentum and urgency driving our efforts.”
The skin test is designed to determine whether the patient has Alzheimer’s disease. The doctor would do a skin prick; no brain imaging would be necessary. A molecular analysis would be performed to determine the diagnosis. Now, Alkon said, many doctors diagnose Alzheimer’s through a process of elimination of other diseases.
New said Neurotrope BioScience is excited to collaborate with BRNI.
“Our partnership with BRNI is special given its scope and framework which is intended to support active collaboration between the two entities for a number of years into the future. BRNI’s evolution as a research institute in the not-for-profit sector has enabled their discoveries to take root and mature to the proof-of-concept stage that now has commercial applications,” New said. “In Neurotrope, we believe this same culture with its unique technical and human resource assets will support us for many years.”
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