Actinogen's new approach to treating Alzheimer's


Transcription of Finance News Network Interview with Actinogen Limited (ASX:ACW) CEO Dr Bill Ketelbey
Lelde Smits: Actinogen Limited (ASX:ACW) is a 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 I multiple ascending dose trial in humans,is 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 Perth is the company’s Managing Director and CEO, Dr Bill Ketelbey. Bill, welcome.
Dr Bill Ketelbey: Thank you, pleasure to be here.
Lelde Smits: Actinogen is seeking to determine the full efficiency of Xanamem in Alzheimer’s disease. How are you progressing?
Dr Bill Ketelbey: We’re progressing really well with the research we’re doing. We’re well into the early phase preliminary research. All of that should complete by August/September and all of that data will then be built in to the Phase II trial. The definitive Phase II trial, which is the trial in Alzheimer’s patients and that, will begin early next year.
Lelde Smits: Xanamem aims to improve the memory deficiency in people with Alzheimer’s. Could you explain how it works?
Dr Bill Ketelbey: So Xanamem works by inhibiting the production of cortisol. Cortisol’s the stress hormone. We all have cortisol, we need cortisol, but elevated cortisol over time can become problematic. And elevated cortisol over time is associated with the memory loss, the neural death, the nerve death, the brain shrinkage, the amyloid plaquing that are all hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease. What we’ve shown is that if you inhibit that elevated cortisol, you can improve the memory and in fact, the amyloid plaquing in the brain.
Lelde Smits: Actinogen aims to start the Phase II trial early next year. What will it be seeking to determine and what is the size, and also the length of the trial?
Dr Bill Ketelbey: So the definitive trial for Xanamem is ultimately the Phase II trial in Alzheimer’s patients. We want to see if it improves the memory, if it improves the overall outcome of patients with Alzheimer’s. The size of the trial and the length of the trial, they’re still to be determined. We’re still working on the design of the Phase II protocol, but it’s likely to be about 200 patients, it’s likely to take about two years to run.
So hopefully, it should complete towards the end of 2017. The significant thing about Xanamem is the treatment period is only 12 weeks. So it’s a relatively short period of treatment required, to show the efficacy of the product.
Lelde Smits: Alzheimer’s disease is growing as populations age. How is Actinogen positioning itself in the treatment of this disease?
Dr Bill Ketelbey: Alzheimer’s disease is a multifactorial disease. It’s now recognised that there are many causes and ultimately, there’re going to be many treatments required for it. Some are already on the market, some are registered, many are under research. What’s clear to us is that Xanamem is going to be one of multiple treatments, ultimately for patients with Alzheimer’s. It’s likely in the future that patients will be treated with a combination of products, and we will be just one of that combination.
Lelde Smits: Finally Bill, what are the company’s main priorities at the moment and how would you like to position Actinogen in the longer term?
Dr Bill Ketelbey: Our main priorities at the moment have been focused around capital raising. We had to raise the capital to do the research. We’ve had a very successful capital raising a few weeks back, raised very close to $11 million. Along with the R&D rebate, tax rebates that we get from the government; we are well set for funding for the Phase II trial. We’ve got more than adequate funding for the trial.
So the priorities with the funding, the Phase II trial, finishing off the preliminary work that we are busy with at the moment, and will be finished towards the end of September. And then additionally, in parallel to the Alzheimer’s indication, we’re going to look at other indications. Indications like diabetes, like PTSD, like post-myocardial infarction. Reflecting the broad platform of indications that Xanamem and the inhibition of cortisol, offers to us.
Lelde Smits: Bill Ketelbey, thank you for the update from Actinogen.
Dr Bill Ketelbey: Thank you.