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Algorae Pharmaceuticals buoyed by test results on dementia treatment

In 2020, more than 55 million people worldwide were diagnosed with dementia.

Algorae Pharmaceuticals (ASX: 1AI) says pre-clinical testing on a combination of drugs it is developing to potentially treat dementia shows they have a greater cell viability together than as individually administered drugs. Algorae’s “AI-116” is a novel combination drug candidate made up of cannabidiol (CBD) and a pharmaceutical ingredient called donepezil hydrochloride (Donepezil), whose patent to previous developers has now expired.

Testing shows cell viability increased by 20.1 per cent for “AI-116″ that combines both Donepezil and CBD, compared to 2.1 per cent using Donepezil only.

When combined, Algorae says the observed combined effect of Donezepil and CBD on cell viability is 33 per cent greater than the effects of each drug used alone.

Donepezil was registered by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1996 for the symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, helping to improve cognitive function and quality of life for individuals with the condition. The drug was originally marketed as “Aricept”.

These preliminary in vitro results are very promising.
Algorae Pharmaceuticals principal investigator Professor Garrie Arumugam

It has been prescribed off-label in the treatment of other neurodegenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. Donezepil belongs to a class of drugs known as AChE inhibitors, which work by increasing the levels of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter involved in memory and learning in the brain.

These preliminary in vitro results are very promising, showing a clear pattern of neuronal cell protection and synergistic method of action. I am eager to further investigate the implications of these findings and how they could pave the way for new insights and potentially advancements in drug development.
Algorae Pharmaceuticals principal investigator Professor Garrie Arumugam

The latest test results came from ongoing pre-clinical studies conducted at La Trobe University in Melbourne.

Algorae says the market size for AChE inhibitors in 2024 is estimated to be US$21 billion (AU$31.9 billion) and is driven by the increasing prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease.

Dementia is categorised as a decline in cognitive function that affects a person’s ability to perform daily activities. A person with dementia has two or more specific difficulties, including decline in memory, reasoning, language, coordination, mood and behaviour.

The most common causes of dementia include Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, lewy body dementia, frontotemporal dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Huntington’s disease.

Alzheimer’s disease represents about 70 per cent of all causes of dementia. Algorae says the primary focus of dementia treatment in recent decades has focused on managing symptoms and slowing the progression of the diseases underlying dementia.

As of 2020, more than 55 million people worldwide live with dementia, which is projected to triple by 2050 as average life expectancy continues to increase.

Following its latest positive test results, Algorae is planning further analysis to assess the therapeutic mechanism associated with the use of AI-116, including assessments for neuroinflammation, which management says plays a multifaceted role in the pathogenesis of neurodegenerative disorders and dementia.

Shares in Algorae jumped 20 per cent following today’s announcement to touch 1.2c during intraday trading from a previous close of 1c.

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