QurAlis Announces Agreement to Strengthen ALS Pipeline
QurAlis to in-license lead excitotoxicity targeted ALS therapeutic candidates from Lilly
Cambridge, MA, July 01, 2020 — QurAlis Corporation, a biotech company focused on developing precision medicines for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and other neurologic diseases, today announced an agreement to in-license pre-clinical compounds with disease modifying potential in ALS by preventing disease-induced neuronal excitotoxicity from Eli Lilly and Company (Lilly). Financial terms were not disclosed.
“We believe that the compounds we are in-licensing from Lilly have great potential for the development of a targeted ALS therapy, and we intend to advance these compounds to the clinic and to patients in need,” said Kasper Roet, Ph.D., CEO of QurAlis. “Our ultimate goal has always been to develop clinically meaningful disease modifying medicines for ALS, and this agreement represents a big step in that direction.”
Excitotoxicity in ALS, a defining characteristic of the disease, is caused by the hyperactivity of neurons that leads to the internal buildup of toxic proteins and metabolic waste, and the subsequent death of brain and spinal cord motor neurons. By aiming to prevent neuronal excitability with specifically targeted small molecule drugs, QurAlis’ excitotoxicity research program intends to halt this process and prevent disease progression in those ALS patients, where this disease process plays a prominent role.
“Data from ALS patient-derived stem cell models suggest that excitotoxicity is a major driver of motor neuron degeneration in ALS. The compounds included in this licensing agreement will enable us to target neuronal excitotoxicity in ALS in a novel way,” commented Dan Elbaum, Ph.D., CSO of QurAlis. “We are very encouraged by the signs of activity from early clinical trials on this pathway, which suggest that we may be able to prevent the toxicity to neurons typical of ALS and hopefully modify the course of the disease.”
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease impacting nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. ALS breaks down nerve cells, reducing muscle function and causing loss of muscle control. ALS can be traced to mutations in over 25 different genes and is often caused by a combination of multiple sub-forms of the condition. Its average life expectancy is three years, and there is currently no cure for the disease.
About QurAlis Corporation
QurAlis is bringing hope to the ALS community by developing breakthrough precision medicines for this devastating disease. Our stem cell technologies generate proprietary human neuronal models that enable us to more effectively discover and develop innovative therapies for genetically validated targets. We are advancing three antisense and small molecule programs addressing sub-forms of the disease that account for the majority of patients. Together with a world class network of thought leaders, drug developers and patient advocates, our team is rising to the challenge of conquering ALS. www.quralis.com
Shai Biran, Ph.D.