New Alpha-Synuclein Therapy Begins Clinical Trial

The Parkinson’s therapeutic pipeline continues to grow as another therapy targeting the protein alpha-synuclein begins human studies. Earlier this month, BioArctic announced that it, along with its partner AbbVie, has begun clinical trials joining seven other alpha-synuclein therapies already being tested by volunteers.

Alpha-synuclein is a priority target for The Michael J. Fox Foundation. There is strong evidence that toxic forms of this protein are involved in Parkinson’s disease. We invested early to help treatments targeting alpha-synuclein get off the ground and continue to work with the research community to keep this important area advancing.

BioArctic and AbbVie are testing an antibody called ABBV-0805 at locations in the U.S. It works by binding to toxic clumps of alpha-synuclein and helping remove them. Pre-clinical studies showed that it did remove the majority of these clumps, which led to slower disease progression and reduced motor symptoms.

This new antibody joins seven other promising alpha-synuclein therapies that are already in clinical studies, the final phases of therapeutic development. These therapies, many of which have received support from MJFF, are pursuing different approaches to the target.

Other Antibodies

  • AstraZeneca and Takeda are partnering on a Phase I study of the alpha-synuclein antibody MEDI-1341 in control volunteers in Dallas, Texas. Learn more and get contact information for the trial team.
  • Biogen is testing an anti-alpha-synuclein antibody called BIIB054 in people with Parkinson’s in a Phase II trial (called the SPARK study) at sites in Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States. Learn about its eligibility criteria on the study website. You can also connect with your local study site on Fox Trial Finder.
  • Prothena and its partner Roche are testing an anti-alpha-synuclein antibody (PRX002/RO7046015) in a Phase II trial called PASADENA at sites in Europe and the United States. This study finished enrollment late last year and results are expected in 2020.

Vaccine

  • AFFiRiS developed a vaccine called AFFITOPE® PD01A, which instructs our bodies to produce alpha-synuclein antibodies. (This is a similar approach to how the flu vaccine creates protection against influenza). The company is now planning a Phase II trial to investigate the vaccine’s efficacy.

Other Therapeutic Approaches

  • Neuropore and its partner UCB developed NPT200-11/ UCB0599, which binds to alpha-synuclein and blocks its accumulation. UCB is planning a Phase Ib study in Europe.
  • Prana Biotechnology began a Phase I trial of its therapy PBT434 in healthy volunteers in Australia last year. This drug works by inhibiting the aggregation of alpha-synuclein and tau proteins through regulation of iron levels. Because it targets several proteins, the therapy is also being studied as a potential treatment for Multiple System Atrophy (MSA) and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).
  • Proclara is developing NPT088, which can bind to several proteins involved in brain diseases, including alpha-synuclein, amyloid-beta and tau. Proclara is conducting a Phase I trial in people with Alzheimer’s. The company plans to test NPT088 in people with Parkinson’s as soon as an imaging tool for alpha-synuclein is available.