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Subject KIST’s Convergence Research Center for Diagnosis, Treatment and Care System of Dementia Transfers New Drug (2017.06.01)
Date 2017-06-01 Read 59
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KIST’s Convergence Research Center for Diagnosis, Treatment and Care System of Dementia Transfers New Drug


- First major transfer of technology produced via the NST Convergence Research Project

 

 

On May 31, at its headquarters in Seoul, the Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) officially transferred to MEGA Bio a new candidate drug for treating Alzheimer’s disease.


The contracted amount for the technology transfer was KRW 6 billion, including a down payment of KRW 500 million, milestone payments of KRW 5.5 billion, and a running royalty of 3% of net sales.


The drug was developed by Dr. Park Ki Duk’s team from KIST’s Convergence Research Center for Diagnosis, Treatment and Care System of Dementia. As a part of the National Research Council of Science & Technology (NST)’s Convergence Research Project, the Center was launched in 2015 to foster integrated solutions to dementia-related problems.


Dr. Park’s team has developed new candidate drugs that can fundamentally cure cognitive disorders in dementia patients. The team’s work is based upon previous joint research conducted with Dr. Lee Changjoon’s team from KIST. The team also performed long-term efficacy and toxicity testing through a multi-departmental government project for new drug development, and they are currently promoting nonclinical trials before moving on to clinical ones.


The newly synthesized drug alleviates GABA* overproduction in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease. By doing so, it may dramatically reduce GABA-induced memory loss and other cognitive disorders.


* GABA: A neurotransmitter found in the central nervous systems of mammals


Dr. Park’s team applied the candidate drug to genetically modified lab mice suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and diverse behavioral tests confirmed a recovery of their cognitive functions. Remarkable cognitive improvement was also confirmed when small amounts of the drug were administered over a long period of time. Most excitingly, suitability tests on the drug demonstrated it could be transmitted to the human brain efficiently and without any side effects on other parts of the nervous system.


At present, few drugs are being offered to treat dementia, and most are only effective in easing short-term symptoms. Recent efforts to produce new drugs based on conventional treatment mechanisms often failed. Yet, despite such setbacks, this possible next-generation drug shows great potential thanks to its innovative new treatment mechanism.

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