Small Alzheimer's hopeful biotech nabs $15M series B for metabolic drug approach

Amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease
Amyloid plaques in Alzheimer's disease (By Jensflorian (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (] via Wikimedia Commons)

A small private biotech has raised a modest series B as it continues to test its idea that memory-wasting Alzheimer's disease (AD) can be beaten back by focusing on fat and sugar metabolism in the brain.

North Carolina-based T3D Therapeutics has got off a $15 million series B, which adds to its support from the National Institute on Aging (part of the National Institutes of Health) to start work on the phase 2 drug T3D-959 in AD.

The company’s CEO John Didsbury, Ph.D., said the experimental therapy “works to overcome aberrant glucose (sugar) and lipid (fat) metabolism in the brain that is inherent in AD. This dysfunctional metabolism causes protein mis-folding which in turn leads to plaques, tangles and inflammation."

Plaques and tangles have long been seen as a potential culprit for AD, but attempts to combat these have frustrated researchers for more than a decade.

Didsbury said: “We believe T3D-959 has the potential to be Alzheimer's disease remedial, to either slow, stop, or even reverse the course of disease as a single drug therapy.”

That will be a tall order, though this comes amid a strange time in Alzheimer’s R&D: Last month, Biogen said it was resurrecting its once-dead AD effort after some data dredging showed it may work in some patients, and it will plan to ask the FDA for a review.

And this month, China approved a new Alzheimer’s drug, oligomannate, which in trials is said to have statistically improved cognitive function in patients suffering from mild to moderate Alzheimer’s as early as week four, according to its maker Shanghai Green Valley Pharmaceuticals.

This is the first AD approval in 17 years, although it does not target beta amyloid, a protein that forms clumps of plaque. Instead, the drug is a low molecular acid oligosaccharide compound extracted from marine brown algae, although the approval is conditional on further tests that it can work (and there is high skepticism that it can).

Both of these events have still had the impact of boosting AD research along with the shares of many listed companies focused on this toughest of CNS areas.