Acquisition of Anelixis Therapeutics Fuels Hopes for ALS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
ORANGE COUNTY, Calif. SEPTEMBER 15, 2020 Anelixis Therapeutics, the for-profit clinical-stage development company that advanced the drug AT-1501 to clinical trial, announced on Monday, September 14, that they have been acquired by Novus Therapeutics. Through this acquisition, AT-1501 is expected to advance to the next stage of clinical development, a phase 2 trial in ALS.
Augie Nieto, the-co-founder and Chairman of Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS also serves as Chairman of the ALS Therapy Development Institute, who invented AT-1501. Augie was also a founding board member of Anelixis.
“When we started Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS in 2005, we knew our best chance of fueling a cure and treatments for this devastating disease was to find the best scientific partner – which we did in ALS TDI,” said Augie Nieto. “Solid leadership drives success, and we couldn’t be more excited about the acquisition of Anelixis by Novus Therapeutics. We need stronger treatment options for ALS, and I’m confident this is a critical step to reach that goal,” he added.
AT-1501 is an investigational antibody that targets the CD40 ligand (CD40L), a protein present at the surface of some white blood cells that is involved in inflammation. In ALS, blocking CD40L activation decreases inflammatory responses implicating CD40L in neurodegeneration.
AT-1501 was invented by the ALS Therapy Development Institute with funding from Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS, and in 2019, Anelixis Therapeutics successfully completed phase 1 clinical trials for AT-1501 as a treatment for ALS. The study, involving both healthy volunteers and participants with ALS, showed that AT-1501 was well tolerated at all doses tested and that the pharmacokinetic properties of AT-1501 were typical for an IgG1 antibody therapeutic.
AT-1501 is being developed by Novus Therapeutics as a potential treatment in renal transplantation, islet cell transplantation, autoimmune nephritis, and ALS . ALS will be the first of these indications to begin enrolling for Phase 2 trials, and enrollment is expected to begin by the end of 2020.
ALS TDI’s CEO, Steve Perrin, PhD stated, “The partnership between ALS TDI and Anelixis to move AT-1501 from preclinical to clinical development has been very exciting. This unique business relationship truly demonstrates the ability of a non-profit to leverage philanthropic support, like that from Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS, to move a promising treatment into clinical trials. As we discover more potential treatments for ALS, we will lean into these experiences as we look to advance new leads into human clinical testing.”
Steve Perrin will serve as President and Chief Scientific Officer of Novus Therapeutics, and also serve on the board. Walter Ogier, the Chairman of the Board of Anelixis, will take the second board seat. “I was so impressed with Walter’s performance as Chairman of Anelixis, that I believed it was critical that Steve and Walter continue to serve on the board due to their decades of experience,” added Nieto.
AT-1501 is the first potential treatment to be invented at ALS TDI and successfully advanced through a Phase 1 clinical study. However, scientists at ALS TDI are continuing to work to find more potential treatments for people with ALS. With continued funding, ALS TDI hopes to develop more promising treatments that can be brought through trial and eventually become available for people with ALS. Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS is committed to continue to fund the important science being done at ALS TDI.
About Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS
Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS is dedicated to changing the experience of people living with ALS. We raise the funds and awareness urgently needed to advance cutting-edge research, fast-track effective treatments, and ultimately, find a cure for this devastating disease. Augie’s Quest was founded in 2005 by Augie Nieto, the successful fitness industry mogul behind Lifecycle and Life Fitness and whose life story was recently chronicled in the award-winning film, Augie. With Augie’s Quest, ALS doesn’t stand a fighting chance. Because ALS isn’t incurable, it’s only underfunded. Please join our quest at www.augiesquest.org.
AT-1501 is a humanized IgG1 anti-CD40L antibody with high affinity for CD40L, a well-validated target with broad therapeutic potential. The CD40/CD40L pathway plays a central role in generating pro-inflammatory responses in autoimmune disease, allograft transplant rejection, and neuroinflammation. In a Phase 1 safety study of healthy volunteers and patients with ALS, AT-1501 was well tolerated at all doses tested.
About Anelixis Therapeutics
Anelixis Therapeutics, Inc. was a clinical stage, privately held biotechnology company developing treatments for patients with neurodegenerative disease, people requiring an organ or cell based transplant, as well as people with an autoimmune disease. Since its founding in 2015, Anelixis Therapeutics has optimized and validated a cGMP manufacturing process for AT-1501, confirmed exceptional activity in preclinical disease models, demonstrated safety and tolerability in humans
The development of AT-1501 has been funded with support from The ALS Therapy Development Institute, Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS, The ALS Association, ALS One, ALS Finding a Cure, and The Congressionally Directed Medical Research Program. Anelixis also conducted several private placement rounds including a round led by Noble Capital Markets, Inc. (Noble), an investment bank headquartered in Boca Raton Florida, who acted as the exclusive placement agent in a private placement financing round, and a financing round was also led by the Biotechnology Value Fund, L.P. and other affiliates of BVF Partners L.P. (“BVF”).
For more information, please visit the company’s website at www.AnelixisTherapeutics.com.