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iPierian advances monoclonal antibody drug development programs
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—iPierian Inc. has this week announced the first two development programs in its drug pipeline, which focus on monoclonal antibodies to treat neurodegenerative diseases by targeting the Tau protein and the Complement pathway. According to iPieria, "Tau protein and the Complement pathway represent central mechanisms driving an array of neurodegenerative diseases, which will allow the company to pursue a series of disease indications."
The company says that the emergence of the two development programs in Tau and Complement follow from its decision to focus drug discovery programs exclusively on neurodegenerative diseases, an area where access to patients' brain tissue for study remains elusive, and iPierian says it plans to advance both the Tau and Complement programs internally in parallel.
The monoclonal antibody development programs evolve from iPierian's research using disease modeling of patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The disease models, which combine human cortical neurons, motor neurons, microglia and astrocytes in a dish, are used by iPierian to discover and validate novel therapeutic targets or mechanisms of disease.
"iPierian's platform provides a unique approach to neurodegenerative disease drug development, incorporating human disease biology at the very beginning of the discovery process," said Dr. Nancy Stagliano, CEO of iPierian. "Our recent insights derived from human iPSCs have encouraged us to quickly move our Tau and Complement programs forward. iPierian's patient-derived models of neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation are allowing us to realize the promise of iPSC technology in a very product-oriented way."
Leveraging the company's iPSC capabilities can provide insight into the earliest drivers of diseases such as Alzheimer's, she explains, in contrast to conventional autopsy samples which typically only allow for study of end-stage pathophysiology. By studying the role of Tau in human cells, the company aims to advance a novel therapeutic into the clinic for multiple tauopathies, such as Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia and progressive supranuclear palsy. In targeting the Complement cascade in the innate immune system, iPierian's platform is being leveraged to "tease out specific mechanisms of chronic inflammation that occur in various brain disorders."