Today, we’re in Barcelona visiting iProteos, a biotech that is developing drugs that can cross the blood-brain barrier to treat a range of neurological disorders and schizophrenia.
Mission: iProteos is developing treatments for central nervous system (CNS) disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy, as well as schizophrenia. The Spanish biotech’s drugs mimic the action of natural peptides in order to influence interactions between proteins and other compounds that are involved in CNS diseases. For example, its treatment for Schizophrenia uses a molecule called IRP19 to inhibit an enzyme found in the brain, which has a neuroprotective effect.
Importantly, iProteos claims the permeability of its peptide-like drugs enables them to cross biological membranes such as the blood-brain barrier, which is a major challenge in developing drugs for neurodegenerative diseases. The company’s treatment for schizophrenia, the most advanced in its pipeline, is expected to enter clinical development by 2021. In preclinical trials, the treatment reversed deficits in cognitive performance in mouse models of the disease.
What we think: Biotechs are developing a wide range of treatments for CNS disorders, such as gene therapies, vaccines and antibodies. However, crossing the blood-brain barrier is a major challenge most of these approaches face, and biotechs are addressing it creative ways. For example, Ossianix is using fragments of shark antibodies to carry drugs across the blood-brain barrier. If iProteos’ technology can hold up in human clinical trials, it could improve the way we treat CNS disorders.
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