London, UK – 15th March 2017 – Autifony Therapeutics Limited (“Autifony”), which is pioneering the development of novel pharmaceutical treatments for serious disorders of the central nervous system, today announced a new funding award of £895,000 from the Biomedical Catalyst for initiation of a research programme with a novel approach to the treatment of dementia. An investment of £400,000 from the Dementia Discovery Fund (“DDF”) will also be used to pursue this highly novel approach to dementia treatment.
Autifony will use its extensive expertise in the voltage-gated ion channel field to tackle a different subtype of potassium channel, which has been implicated in Alzheimer’s disease (“AD”) and potentially other dementias, through regulation of synapse function. Synaptic function is impaired early in the course of the disease and therefore novel drugs that target this previously unexplored ion channel could have potential not only to improve symptoms of AD, but to be disease modifying.
Dr Charles Large, Chief Executive Officer of Autifony Therapeutics commented: “We are excited to be using our expertise in ion channel drug discovery for a research programme in an area of such huge unmet medical need – dementia is one of the largest problems facing our society in the 21st century. The renewed Biomedical Catalyst and unique Dementia Discovery Fund partnership are making significant contributions to pioneering research in this field and we are fortunate in having attracted funding from both to progress our research in this important area.”
Dr Tetsu Maruyama, Chief Scientific Officer of the Dementia Discovery Fund commented: “DDF’s mission is to ensure that new and original opportunities to treat dementias receive the resources that can enable their success. Autifony, as world leaders in their field, have an innovative approach to dementia discovery that could validate new treatment strategies and at the same time kickstart a rapid discovery with real potential to deliver relief to millions of patients.”
About Autifony Therapeutics Ltd
Autifony Therapeutics is an independent UK based biotechnology company formed in 2011 as a spin-out from GSK, which retains equity in the company. The Company is focused on the development of high value, novel medicines to treat serious diseases of the central nervous system. It is funded by SV Life Sciences, Touchstone Innovations plc, Pfizer Venture Investments, International Biotechnology Trust PLC, and UCL Business plc. www.autifony.com
About the Dementia Discovery Fund (DDF)
The DDF is a venture capital fund which invest in projects and companies to discover and develop novel, effective disease-modifying therapeutics for dementia. Seven leading pharmaceutical companies (GSK, Biogen, Lilly, Takeda, Pfizer, J&J, and Astex, a subsidiary of Otsuka), the UK’s Department of Health and charity Alzheimer’s Research UK have invested in the DDF to date. Heads of Neuroscience and R&D represent these strategic investors on the DDF Scientific Advisory Board and work closely with SV’s dedicated team of neuroscientists and experts to identify and evaluate novel approaches for the treatment of dementia. SV Life Sciences won the bid to become Manager in a competitive selection process held in 2015. www.theddfund.com
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) accounts for over 60% of cases of dementia, and affects 1% of the world’s population. At 85 years of age, there is a 50% chance of developing AD and the incidence is increasing with ageing demographics. Initial symptoms include difficulty remembering recent events, which progresses to disorientation, mood changes, and loss of motivation. Patients become wheel-chair bound and entirely dependent on carers. The impact of dementia is therefore on the patient, their family, and wider society. AD charities actively highlight the societal impact of AD. The World Alzheimer Report estimates that costs are split 20% on medical care, 40% on social services, and 40% on primary carers. Caregiving often has a negative impact on health, employment, income and family finances. In the UK, there are estimated to be over 670,000 people acting as primary, unpaid carers for people with dementia, saving an estimated £11bn each
year from the public purse.
The World Alzheimer Report (2015) has estimated that the annual costs associated with dementia amounted to 1% of the world’s gross domestic product ($600bn in 2010, rising to $818bn in 2015). The report estimates that 35.6m people worldwide were living with dementia in 2010. It forecasts 66m by 2030, and 115m by 2050.
About Innovate UK
Innovate UK is the UK’s innovation agency. It works with people, companies and partner organisations to find and drive the science and technology innovations that will grow the UK economy. For further information visit www.innovateuk.gov.uk
About Biomedical Catalyst
Catalysts are run jointly by Innovate UK and the Research Councils. A Catalyst is a form of research and development funding which focuses on a specific priority area and aims to help take projects from research to as close to commercial viability as possible. The Catalyst model supports projects in priority areas where the UK research base has a leading position and where there is clear commercial potential. Current Catalysts include: Biomedical Catalyst, Agri-tech Catalyst and the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst.
For more information, please contact:
Autifony Therapeutics Limited
Dr Charles Large, Chief Executive Officer
Sue Charles, Tim Watson, Alex Bannister
T: +44 (0) 20 7866 7860
Dementia Discovery Fund
Dr Laurence Barker, Chief Business Officer