iPierian advances monoclonal antibody drug development programs

Company targeting Tau protein and Complement pathway for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases

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SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif.—iPierian Inc. has thisweek announced the first two development programs in its drug pipeline, whichfocus on monoclonal antibodies to treat neurodegenerative diseases by targetingthe Tau protein and the Complement pathway. According to iPieria, "Tau proteinand the Complement pathway represent central mechanisms driving an array ofneurodegenerative diseases, which will allow the company to pursue a series ofdisease indications."
The company says that the emergence of the twodevelopment programs in Tau and Complement follow from its decision to focus drugdiscovery programs exclusively on neurodegenerative diseases, an area whereaccess to patients' brain tissue for study remains elusive, and iPierian saysit plans to advance both the Tau and Complement programs internally inparallel.
The monoclonal antibody development programsevolve from iPierian's research using disease modeling of patient-derivedinduced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The disease models, which combine humancortical neurons, motor neurons, microglia and astrocytes in a dish, are usedby iPierian to discover and validate novel therapeutic targets or mechanisms ofdisease.
"iPierian's platform provides a unique approach toneurodegenerative disease drug development, incorporating human disease biologyat the very beginning of the discovery process," said Dr. Nancy Stagliano, CEOof iPierian. "Our recent insights derived from human iPSCs have encouraged usto quickly move our Tau and Complement programs forward. iPierian'spatient-derived models of neurodegeneration and neuroinflammation are allowingus to realize the promise of iPSC technology in a very product-oriented way."
Leveraging the company's iPSC capabilities canprovide insight into the earliest drivers of diseases such as Alzheimer's, sheexplains, in contrast to conventional autopsy samples which typically onlyallow for study of end-stage pathophysiology. By studying the role of Tau inhuman cells, the company aims to advance a novel therapeutic into the clinicfor multiple tauopathies, such as Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementiaand progressive supranuclear palsy.  Intargeting the Complement cascade in the innate immune system, iPierian'splatform is being leveraged to "tease out specific mechanisms of chronicinflammation that occur in various brain disorders." 

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