SOURCE: Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation

November 25, 2008 14:40 ET

Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation Funds Varinel to Develop Drugs for Neurodegenerative Disease

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - November 25, 2008) - The Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) announced today that it provided a grant of $185,000 to Varinel, Inc., an emerging pharmaceutical company dedicated to developing drugs that can prevent neuronal degeneration and improve brain function. The grant will assist Varinel in advancing the preclinical development of its multifunctional lead compounds, VAR10300 (also known as M30).

VAR10300 was tested successfully in cellular and animal models of Alzheimer's Disease (AD) reducing oxidative damage to mouse brain cells caused by iron-catalyzed free radical reactions and providing novel neuroprotective activity. The compound also improves levels of neurotransmitters, supports the growth of new neurons, and prevents cell death in preclinical models.

The lead compound, M30, was developed by Moussa B.H. Youdim, PhD, and his colleagues at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, in collaboration with the Weizmann Institute of Science.

"We funded Professor Youdim's academic research on M30 and its derivatives for several years. We are now pleased to be able to further advance this M30-based drug development research being conducted by Varinel," said Howard Fillit, MD, ADDF's Executive Director. "The multifunctional approach shows great promise and, if successful, may yield an entirely new class of drugs for treatment of AD and other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, Huntington's disease and ALS."

Varinel is one of the first biotechnology companies to receive funding through Novel Approaches to Drug Discovery for Alzheimer's Disease, a grant award program made possible by Elan. The purpose of the program is to catalyze and accelerate the discovery and development of innovative treatments for AD. Following extensive scientific review and due diligence, Varinel was selected as one of the top proposals for funding through this collaboration program. Novel Approaches has provided a total of $1,630,000 in research grants for AD research in the past three years.

"ADDF's generosity and its deep understanding of the treatment challenges associated with an Alzheimer's diagnosis has provided Varinel with both the financial and intellectual resources needed to meet our objective of bringing a unique multifunctional neuroprotective and neurorestorative anti-Alzheimer's drug into the clinic," said Dr. Vincent R. Zurawski, Jr., Varinel's President and CEO.

About the Alzheimer's Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF)

ADDF is a public charity whose mission is to accelerate drug discovery for Alzheimer's disease through venture philanthropy. ADDF is supported in part by the Institute for the Study of Aging (ISOA), a private foundation established by the Estee Lauder family in 1998. To date, ADDF has awarded over $33M for more than 240 research programs and conferences worldwide. For more additional information, please visit: www.AlzDiscovery.org.

About Varinel, Inc.

Varinel, Inc. is a privately held drug discovery and development company targeting novel drugs for treatment of neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. Varinel has built a strong technology base through close relationships, in-licensing programs and research partnerships with world-class academic investigators, commercial partners, and research foundations. For additional information, please visit: www.varinel.com.

Contact Information

  • ADDF Contact:
    Filomena Machleder
    Assistant Director for Institutional Partnerships
    (212) 801-8004
    fmachleder@alzdiscovery.org

    Varinel Contact:
    David Warshawsky, Ph.D.
    Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer
    (617) 497-7774
    davidw@varinel.com