Silo Pharma’s ketamine-based drug for Alzheimer’s effective against dementia symptoms in mice

Silo Pharma’s drug for Alzheimer’s dementia is effective at alleviating some of the condition’s psychological and behavioral symptoms in mice, according to the company. 

In a press release published Jan. 24, Silo said that its drug SPC-14—one formulation of which contains ketamine and another, undisclosed FDA-approved drug—reduced signs of anxiety, depression and repetitive behaviors in mice. SPC-14 was previously found to be effective at increasing memory function in mice as well.

“We believe today’s announcement, along with our past studies of SPC-14 conducted in female rodents, lends credibility to our discovery of a therapeutic that could bring relief to patients and families suffering from Alzheimer’s disease,” Silo CEO and founder Eric Weisblum said in the release. He added that the company is looking forward to data “needed to advance SPC-14 to a clinical study.” 

SPC-14 targets N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors (NMDRS) and 5-HT4 receptors (5HT4RS), which are found on neurons in the brain. The new data shows that the drug reduces luteinizing hormone stress, which has been hypothesized to be a culprit in Alzheimer’s disease. Luteinizing hormone, or LH, controls sex hormone-related processes like the menstrual cycle and testosterone production. High circulating levels of LH in old age have been linked to cognitive decline in both mice and in humans. 

Other groups also are investigating how controlling luteinizing hormones can benefit Alzheimer’s patients. The Weill Cornell School of Medicine’s forthcoming LUCINDA clinical trial, which will include postmenopausal women with Alzheimer’s symptoms, pairs the injectable form of the prostate cancer medication leuprolide acetate, which suppresses luteinizing hormone release, with Eisai and Pfizer’s Aricept. Leuprolide acetate is commercialized by Tolmar as Eligard. 

Meanwhile, Silo is in the process of collecting preclinical data on the four other drugs in its pipeline. The company announced earlier this month that it had completed the first phase of a dose-ranging study for its SPC-15, an intranasal drug for PTSD prophylaxis. It received a regulatory greenlight in late December 2023 to begin development on a ketamine-loaded implant for fibromyalgia, SP-26, in partnership with Sever Pharma Solutions, and announced early positive data on its rheumatoid arthritis drug, SPU-21, in October 2023. Silo expects data on its peptide for multiple sclerosis, SPU-16, in mid-2024, according to the company’s website.

Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article incorrectly called Silo Pharma by the incorrect name Silo Therapeutics. Also, in a follow-up message to FBR, Silo noted that it is also working on formulations of SPC-14 that do not contain ketamine. Both versions were tested in the study that resulted in the new preclinical data.