We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, as well as to close this round of funding to help us continue and expand our research... - Thomas Kim, CEO of EpiVario
PHILADELPHIA (PRWEB) January 05, 2021
EpiVario, Inc., a preclinical stage drug discovery and development company, today announced that it has entered into an option agreement with the University of Pennsylvania for an epigenetic marker that could potentially be targeted to develop drug treatments for early-stage Alzheimer's disease therapy.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are nearly 50 million individuals living with dementia worldwide. Of those cases, 60 to 70 percent are thought to be attributed to Alzheimer’s disease, which is now among the top 10 causes of death worldwide.
“Given the incidence of Alzheimer’s disease around the world and its devastating effects on individuals, there has never been a greater need for early intervention,” said Shelley Berger, Ph.D., the Daniel S. Och University Professor in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, one of EpiVario's co-founders, and the senior scientist on this research. “With this new epigenetic marker, there is an opportunity to develop novel therapeutics that can inhibit the epigenetic regulators that contribute to the disease.”
Under the terms of the agreement, EpiVario holds the first option to negotiate an exclusive license agreement for this Penn-owned technology, which was featured in a September 2020 study published by Nature Genetics. The study suggested that a reconfiguration of the epigenomic landscape occurs with Alzheimer’s disease, with certain marks impacting disease pathways by disrupting feedback loops between genes and chromatin. These epigenetic changes drive the disease, altering gene expression—without DNA mutation—by marking proteins that package and protect DNA, known as histones. The study went on to suggest that the activity of these epigenetic regulators could be inhibited by therapeutics.
Over the next year, EpiVario will seek to identify modulators that could potentially limit the activity of these epigenetic regulators to prevent Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to entering into the option agreement with Penn, EpiVario has also announced that it has closed its Seed Funding round with a new investment of $112,500, bringing the total outside investment to $717,000. The additional funds will be used to advance the Company’s addiction therapy research, as well as explore endeavors in the area of memory-related disorders.
“Our mission is to develop new therapeutics that will ease the burden of memory-related diseases, such as PTSD and now Alzheimer’s, which can be fatal to patients and present an extreme burden to their family, friends, and society as a whole,” said Thomas Kim, CEO of EpiVario, which was named by Nature as one of the finalists for the inaugural Spinoff Prize in 2020. “We are thrilled to continue our collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, as well as to close this round of funding to help us continue and expand our research around the development of effective therapeutics for PTSD, addiction therapy, and other memory-related disorders such as Alzheimer’s.”
Dr. Berger and Penn are co-founders of the company and hold equity in EpiVario. Both Penn and the inventors of the optioned technology may also be entitled to receive additional financial benefits if the technology is licensed to EpiVario in the future.
For more information on EpiVario, please visit: http://www.epivario.com.
About EpiVario, Inc.
EpiVario is a preclinical stage drug discovery and development company that targets a wide range of memory-related psychiatric disorders, including PTSD, as well as alcohol, drug addiction, and Alzheimer’s. The Company’s novel approach targets memory formation at the source of the disease, preventing the creation and reconsolidation of maladaptive memories. Core to EpiVario is administering its drug in conjunction with psychotherapy, where a negative or traumatic memory is intentionally re-lived, with the goal of disassociating the stress linked to the original traumatic memory. EpiVario is a biotechnology company originally founded at the Penn Center for Innovation. For more information visit http://www.epivario.com.