SOURCE: Serenex

January 17, 2008 09:00 ET

Serenex and CHDI Form Agreement to Evaluate Proprietary Small Molecule Hsp90 Inhibitors as a Potential Treatment for Huntington's Disease

DURHAM, NC--(Marketwire - January 17, 2008) - Serenex, Inc., a leader in the discovery and development of small molecule Heat Shock Protein 90 (Hsp90) inhibitors, and CHDI, Inc., a non-profit organization seeking to rapidly discover and develop drugs that prevent or slow Huntington's disease (HD), today announced that they have entered into an agreement under which CHDI will assess a number of Serenex's novel, small molecule, brain penetrating and orally bioavailable Hsp90 inhibitors as potential therapeutics for Huntington's disease. Under the terms of the agreement, Serenex will retain all rights to develop and commercialize evaluated molecules. The Hsp90 inhibitors being tested are synthetic small molecules discovered internally using Serenex's proprietary chemoproteomics technology platform.

"The root cause of several neurodegenerative diseases such as HD is improper protein processing which results in the aggregation of mutant or incorrectly folded proteins," said Richard Kent, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Serenex. "Inhibition of Hsp90 destabilizes these proteins, targets them for degradation, and thus prevents the protein aggregates from forming. The compounds that we will evaluate with CHDI are distinct from SNX-5422, our orally active Hsp90 inhibitor for oncology, and are specifically targeted for the treatment of CNS diseases."

"We are very excited at the opportunity of working with Serenex's brain-penetrating Hsp90 inhibitors to determine whether they will be beneficial in mitigating Huntington disease pathology," said Robert Pacifici, CHDI's Chief Scientific Officer.

About Hsp90

Hsp90 is an important molecular chaperone protein that regulates the folding and stability of key signaling molecules (client proteins) involved in cell growth and survival. The central role of Hsp90 in cell growth has made it an attractive target for oncology, and currently there are several Hsp90 inhibitors in clinical development for the treatment of both solid and hematological tumors, including SNX-5422. Inhibition of Hsp90 is also an attractive drug target for HD and other neurodegenerative diseases because a number of the proteins thought to be responsible for these diseases are either direct client proteins of Hsp90 or are downstream effectors of client proteins.

About Serenex

Serenex is an integrated drug discovery and development company and a leader in the discovery and development of small molecule Hsp90 inhibitors. Serenex has a novel small molecule inhibitor of Heat Shock Protein 90, SNX-5422, which is in phase 1 clinical trials for cancer. SNX-5422 was developed from the Company's Hsp90 Product Platform, a proprietary collection of several hundred potent small molecule Hsp90 inhibitors. Hsp90 is a central protein responsible for chaperoning a large number of oncogenic and other proteins and is believed to play a key role in cancer, inflammatory diseases, fungal infection resistance, viral diseases and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Huntington's disease. Serenex has ongoing pre-clinical programs in all of these areas. Additionally, Serenex is developing SNX-1012, a product for oral mucositis in solid tumor patients scheduled to complete phase 2 clinical trials in early 2008. Serenex's pipeline is powered by a proprietary high throughput screening platform which enables the company to profile compounds, en masse, against thousands of important therapeutic and toxicity targets. Website: www.serenex.com.

About Huntington's Disease

Huntington's disease is a familial disease, passed from parent to child through a mutation in a gene. Each child of a HD parent has a 50:50 chance of inheriting the HD gene which causes programmed degeneration of brain cells and results in emotional disturbance, loss of intellectual faculties and uncontrolled movements. Most people with HD develop the symptoms at midlife but in some people onset occurs in infancy or old age. The average survival time after onset is approximately fifteen to twenty years. It is estimated that about one in 10,000 persons has the HD gene. At this time, there is no way to stop or reverse the course of Huntington disease.

About CHDI, Inc.

CHDI, Inc. is a non-profit organization pursuing a biotech approach to rapidly discover and develop drugs that prevent or slow Huntington disease. Through collaborations with academic and industrial partners, CHDI, Inc. participates in all aspects of drug discovery and development from discovery research through clinical development. For more information about CHDI, Inc. and its collaborative programs please see www.chdi-inc.org.

Contact Information

  • CONTACT:
    Ian Howes
    CFO & Sr. V.P. Corporate Development
    Serenex, Inc.
    919/281-6001
    Email Contact

    Michelle Linn
    Linnden Communications
    774-696-3803
    Email Contact