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Probiodrug receives research grant of €1.9 million


Halle/Saale, June 23, 2008 -- Probiodrug AG (Probiodrug), a developer of small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases, announced today that the company has received a grant of €1.9 million from the public research funding program “KMU innovativ: Biotechnology-BioChance”, a funding program of the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) to support innovative biotech SME's.

The grant is split over a period of three years as a non-repayable fund and will be used by Probiodrug for the characterization and pharmacological evaluation of glutaminyl cyclase inhibitors as a novel treatment strategy for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). This innovative therapeutic approach is based on Probiodrug`s discovery that the enzyme glutaminyl cyclase (QC) is involved in the seeding of AD-typical amyloid Aß found in the brain of AD patients explaining its neurotoxic activity in the brain of patients with AD.

“We are very pleased about being awarded this substantial grant,” said Prof Dr Hans-Ulrich Demuth, CSO of Probiodrug. “It will help us to advance our preclinical development activities directed at the selection of a candidate for clinical evaluation in this important disease area. This will involve collaborative work conducted with academic partners such as the group led by Prof Dr T. A. Bayer, at the University of Göttingen and the group of PD Dr S. Rossner, at the Paul-Flechsig-Institute for Brain Research at the University of Leipzig. Parts of the lead discovery process will be conducted by our long-term partner Origenis GmbH in Martinsried/Munich.'

Over the last four years, Probiodrug established a successful network of cooperation with academic partners specialized in neurobiological research at the Universities of Erlangen, Göttingen, Halle, Leipzig, and in Magdeburg the Institute for Neurobiology and the Research Institute for Applied Neurosciences (FAN GmbH), which has greatly advanced the company’s ongoing neurodegeneration research and facilitated the crosstalk between groups from different academic institutions. Moreover, the Department of Psychiatry at University of Göttingen, Probiodrug AG and FAN GmbH are members of the Alzheimer PhD Graduate School entitled “Neurodegeneration in Alzheimer‘s disease – mechanisms, consequences and therapy” (NEURAD). This Marie Curie Early Stage Training PhD programme is funded by the European Commission in order to promote young scientists in the field of AD (http://www.neurad-alzheimer.de/).


About Probiodrug AG:

Probiodrug is a biopharmaceutical company specialized on the development of innovative small molecule drugs for the treatment of neuronal, inflammatory, and autoimmune diseases. In these areas, Probiodrug is focusing on innovative targets with the prospect of first and best in class therapeutics.

The Company has a dominant position in the area of glutaminyl cyclase inhibition, an enzyme central for the pathogenesis of AD. In this field, Probiodrug is pioneering a completely novel therapeutic approach. In addition, the company is pursuing further novel approaches in the area of inflammatory diseases.

Probiodrug has generated evidence that glutaminyl cyclase, an enzyme that cyclizes N-terminal glutamine of peptides to pyroglutamate (pGlu), is massively overexpressed in the brain of patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The company has also demonstrated that pyroglutamated derivatives of the amyloid beta (Aß) peptide are much more toxic and degradation-resistant than unmodified Aß peptides and that they form the very seeds of the typical Aß aggregates like AD plaques seen in the brain of AD patients. Moreover in animal models of AD, inhibitors of QC reduce both pGlu-Aß and total Aß, and improve memory.

Probiodrug`s core expertise is based on its long-standing, unique experience with the structure and function elucidation of enzymes central for the maturation of hormones. The company has pioneered the field of DP4-inhibition for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Compounds and technology patents of its DP4 (dipeptidyl peptidase 4) program in diabetes were licensed to various pharmaceutical companies. In 2004, all metabolic assets were sold to (OSI) Prosidion. The first drug based on Probiodrug`s technologies reached the market in late 2006. The proceeds of these transactions have been reinvested to fund the novel approach for the treatment of AD.

The Company was founded in 1997 by Dr Konrad Glund and Prof Dr Hans-Ulrich Demuth and has raised a total of $52 million. In 2007, it acquired Ingenium Pharmaceuticals AG. The company is located in Halle (Saale), Germany, and operates a subsidiary in Martinsried/Munich, Germany. For more information, please visit www.probiodrug.de.

Contact:

Dr Konrad Glund, CEO
Probiodrug AG
Weinbergweg 22
D-06120 Halle/ Saale
Germany

Tel.: +49 345 55599-00
Fax: +49 345 55599-01
Mail: konrad.glund@probiodrug.de


Dr Ludger Weß
akampion
Saseler Loge 6b
D-22393 Hamburg
Germany

Tel.: +49 40 88 16 59 64
Fax: +49 40 88 16 59 65
Mail: ludger@akampion.com


Publisher Contact Information:

Probiodrug
+49 345 55599-00
konrad.glund@probiodrug.de

Company profile of Probiodrug
Past press releases of Probiodrug.

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