Ex-Pfizer team leads Pinteon into phase 1 Alzheimer's trial

purple brain
Pinteon Therapeutics is working with $17 million from Morningside Ventures. (Raman Oza/Pixabay)

Pinteon Therapeutics has begun a phase 1 trial of an anti-tau treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Led by ex-Pfizer scientists, Pinteon is using $17 million in series A funding to assess the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetics of lead asset PNT001.

PNT001 is an antibody that targets the cis-pT231-tau epitope. Pinteon thinks that gives PNT001 an advantage over other experimental anti-tau antibodies. Whereas rival drugs target epitopes found in normal and pathogenic tau, PNT001 is designed to zero in on a binding site found predominantly in neurological disease. Once bound to the site, Pinteon thinks PNT001 will stop the spread of toxic tau. 

Pinteon recently took an early step toward finding out whether PNT001 works as hoped in humans. The phase 1 is enrolling 48 healthy adults and randomizing them to receive one of five, possibly six, doses of PNT001 or placebo. Subjects will receive a single infusion lasting 30 to 60 minutes.

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Most of the key endpoints read out at 16 weeks. That is when Pinteon will assess the incidence of treatment-emergent adverse events and clinical laboratory test abnormalities, as well as when it will measure the plasma concentration of PNT001.

Pinteon used the release about the study start to disclose that it has received $17 million in series A funding from Morningside Ventures. That is the first time Pinteon has issued a statement about its financing—or anything else—but its fundraising activities predate its public discussion of them.  

A securities filing shows Pinteon filed to raise $17 million in 2017. At that time, Pinteon had sold $10 million of the offered shares. The 2017 securities filing was an amendment to the disclosure Pinteon made in 2014, when it said it had sold one-quarter of a $12 million share offering. Pinteon was set up in 2014.

Martin Jefson is overseeing the use of the money in his capacity as CEO. Jefson spent 27 years at Pfizer. Since leaving in 2009, Jefson’s activities include serving as founding chief scientific officer of two Atlas Venture's startups, Ataxion and Rodin Therapeutics.

The CSO role at Pinteon is occupied by Michael Ahlijanian, whose 14-year spell at Pfizer overlapped with Jefson’s time at the company. A third ex-Pfizer employee, Larry Altstiel, rounds out the C-suite. Altstiel, a former head of clinical research at Pfizer’s neuroscience unit, is working as Pinteon’s chief medical officer. All three executives left Pfizer long before the company killed off its neuroscience unit last year. 

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