Alkahest Parkinson’s clinical trial gets funding boost

Alkahest announced today that they have initiated a phase 2 clinical trial with funding from the Michael J Fox Foundation (MJFF).

Today’s press release reveals that the trial will study Alkahest’s orally-administered small molecule drug AKST4290 to see how it performs as a therapy for Parkinson’s disease. MJFF is one of the world’s most significant Parkinson’s research funding bodies and it contributed an undisclosed amount to support this trial.

Longevity.Technology: This is exciting news – there has been very little improvement in the treatment of Parkinson’s, but AKST4290 shows the potential to be an easily-administered drug that would treat the upstream causes of this degenerative disease, rather than just temporarily alleviating symptoms.

Alkahest lab team
Picture: Alkahest’s team working in the lab

AKST4290 is a drug that works by blocking an inflammatory protein called eotaxin. Eotaxin is found in human blood plasma and increases in concentration with age. Eotaxin is suspected to be behind disease-driving inflammation in both Parkinson’s and wet age-related macular degeneration (wAMD). AKST4290 has already demonstrated an ability to reduce inflammation-driven neovascularisation of the macula and improve best corrected visual acuity in wAMD sufferers.

This trial will see the first tests of AKST4290 being used to tackle Parkinson’s disease, a debilitating disease, the treatment of which has seen barely any improvement since the introduction of dopamine promoters. Both the motor function and activities of daily living in patients with Parkinson’s disease will be tested in a double-blind, placebo-controlled study based on approximately 120 subjects. The study will be based on 12 weeks of treatment and 30 days of follow-up to assess motor function at Week 12.

Alkahest equipment
Picture: Alkahest’s lab equipment

Dr Karoly Nikolich, CEO and chairman of Alkahest said: “Evidence suggests that the immune system plays an important role in the development and progression of Parkinson’s disease, a disease which impacts nearly one million Americans. AKST4290… if effective, could represent an important step forward in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.”

Dr Todd Sherer, CEO of The Michael J. Fox Foundation, said: “Patients’ greatest unmet need is a therapy that prevents, slows or halts the progression of Parkinson’s disease.

AKST4290 presents a novel approach toward that goal, and we’re keen to better understand its potential impact for the millions living with this disease and their loved ones.”

Images courtesy of Alkahest Inc.