Actinogen pursuing treatment of Alzheimer’s


by Lelde Smitts

Transcription of Finance News Network Interview with Actinogen Limited (ASX:ACW) CEO, Dr Bill Ketelbey 

Lelde Smits:  Actinogen Limited (ASX:ACW) is an Australian biotechnology company focused on the development of novel treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, and other major age-related neurodegenerative diseases. Results from the Company’s second Phase 1 multiple ascending dose trial in humans are due midyear, and a Phase II study has been slated for later this year.I’m Lelde Smits and joining me at ASX Investor Series in Sydney is the Company’s CEO, Dr Bill Ketelbey. Bill welcome to FNN.
Dr Bill Ketelbey: Thank you.
Lelde Smits: Actinogen’s lead drug candidate, Xanamem is undergoing a clinical trial. Could you explain what you’re trying to determine.
Dr Bill Ketelbey: We’re trying to determine the full efficacy of Xanamem in Alzheimer’s disease. The pre-clinical work has been done over many years in animals. Medicinal chemistry work has been done and the first human studies have been done in volunteers. But the first Alzheimer’s patients, the first dementia patients, will be trialled starting next year. And over the following two years, we’re seeking to determine the true efficacy of our compound in Alzheimer’s disease.
Lelde Smits: Could you explain how Xanamem works and also how it’s different to other proposed treatments of Alzheimer’s?
Dr Bill Ketelbey: Xanamem works by inhibiting cortisol production. Cortisol is the stress hormone and it’s been shown that cortisol is elevated in Alzheimer’s patients. Elevated cortisol causes memory loss, causes plaquing in the brain, causes neural death, the sort of hallmarks of Alzheimer’s. By switching it off you’re able to reverse those problems, in particular the memory loss. We’ve got that evidence in animals; we’ve got it indirectly in humans. What we’re after is showing directly in humans with our product, that we can improve the memory deficiency of Alzheimer’s.
Lelde Smits: If you could explain what the next steps are in the clinical trial?
Dr Bill Ketelbey: So we’ve got all of the early preliminary work done. We now need to go into the Phase II trial, which is the definitive efficacy trial in Alzheimer’s. It takes a lot of planning, a lot of development to get there and importantly, we had to put together an advisory board of specialists, Alzheimer’s specialists, who would help us design that clinical trial. We’ve done that; we’ve had the first meeting of the team. They’ve put together the protocol and we’ve now got six months of planning, of logistics planning, of accessing all our third party providers to be able to begin this study early next year.
Lelde Smits:What is the cost for currently treating Alzheimer’s disease, and how are these figures changing year to year?
Dr Bill Ketelbey: The biggest problem with Alzheimer’s disease is the growth, the inexorable growthin the population that’s developing Alzheimer’s. Currently it’s the second leading cause of death in Australia. The cost of treating Alzheimer’s in the next generation will be over a trillion dollars in the US, and the current therapies are just not adequate enough. The market needs, the community needs, the researchers need new approaches to treating Alzheimer’s and we hope that we are presenting just that.
Lelde Smits: Bill Ketelbey, thank you for the update from Actinogen.
Dr Bill Ketelbey: Thank you.