TauRx Pharmaceuticals Ltd
Addressing the Global Challenge of Alzheimer’s Disease
TauRx’s mission is to discover, develop and commercialise innovative products for the diagnosis, treatment, and cure of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease (AD) caused through protein aggregation.
Dementia is the world’s greatest unmet medical need. As the world’s population ages, the prevalence of AD, the most common form of dementia, is predicted to reach epidemic proportions.
Our aim is to help address this unmet medical need with the development of a safe, effective, and accessible disease modifying treatment. Our work with GT Diagnostics (a joint venture between Genting Bhd and TauRx) is focused on the development of innovative and non-invasive diagnostic and treatment monitoring tools to support early diagnosis of dementia. This will help optimise future treatment breakthroughs and provide a platform for more efficient care management.
It is estimated that 50 million people are currently living with AD. This number is predicted to rise to 75 million by 2030 and 132 million by 2050. The disease places huge financial pressures on public healthcare systems and is devastating for people with the disease, their families, and caregivers.
A treatment breakthrough is desperately needed. Currently, drugs are available to treat some disease symptoms, but they do not alter the rate of neurodegeneration in the brain. A disease modifying treatment could enable people with dementia to retain independence for longer, live fuller lives, and remove some of the stigma and concern associated with diagnosis.
The Role of Tau Pathology in Neuronal Death
TauRx is exploring the use of tau aggregation inhibitors (TAIs) in AD and several other neurodegenerative diseases associated with tau pathology, as well as other disorders deriving from the aggregation of other proteins in the brain, including Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.
TauRx’s second-generation TAI is currently involved in a pivotal phase 3 clinical trial, called Lucidity, studying the effects of its drug in people with mild cognitive impairment (an early form of AD), mild and mild-moderate AD. The results of this trial are expected mid-2022. If successful, TauRx will seek the necessary approvals to bring the drug to market.
The TauRx research team has been focusing on the tau pathology of AD, sometimes referred to as the “tau hypothesis” for nearly three decades. According to this hypothesis, abnormal aggregation of tau protein ultimately leads to the formation of tangles within nerve cells in the brain. Once initiated, the tau aggregation process continues of its own accord, consuming the normal form of tau protein in the process and spreading the aggregation cascade into previously healthy nerve cells. The build-up of these tangles in the brain results in neuronal death and the symptoms we associate with dementia.
Translating 30 years of Tau Protein Research into Disease Modifying Treatment
Professor Claude Wischik was responsible for discovering the composition of the tau protein pathology in AD during his PhD at Cambridge University in the ‘80s. Then, along with his scientific research team, he pioneered the early-stage research into TAIs to slow and halt the progression of AD and similar neurodegenerative conditions. The results of this foundational research showed promise and TauRx was founded in 2002 to continue the work towards the development of an effective treatment for the disease.
Our novel TAIs target the formation or aggregation of tau protein ‘tangles’ in the brain. The spread of tau tangles is strongly correlated with cognitive decline in dementia, and they can develop in the brain up to 20 years before symptoms associated with dementia develop. TauRx’s second-generation TAI is a novel chemical form of methylthioninium (MT) and works by breaking down existing tau aggregates and preventing the further aggregation of tau protein from forming new tangles. The aim is to slow and potentially even stop cognitive decline and brain atrophy associated with disease progression.
Recognising a need to enhance patient access to future treatments, TauRx works closely with GT Diagnostics in the development of readily deployable e-platform tools for home use, alongside professional tools for healthcare professionals targeting the diagnosis and monitoring of dementias.
Research work is carried out closely with the University of Aberdeen, and other educational facilities such as University of Sussex. Drawing on a wider range of expertise allows the scientific knowledge to be constantly developed.
We are supported in delivering our clinical trials by a leading global contract research organisation and specialist service providers to protect and process our trial data.