AlphaCognition, Inc. is a privately held biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of novel therapies to treat diseases of the brain and spinal cord. We embarked on research programs to find alternative ways of treating Alzheimer’s disease and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also called Lou Gehrig’s Disease. To date, both are very serious conditions that have major unmet medical needs.
Our Company has offices in Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada) and West Palm Beach, Florida (USA) and laboratory operations are on Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a chronic neurodegenerative disease that is the cause of 60–70% of cases of dementia. The most common symptom is difficulty remembering recent events, but, as it progresses, the symptoms can worsen and include problems with language, disorientation (easily getting lost), mood swings, loss of motivation and behavioral issues. Although the speed of progression can vary, the typical life expectancy following diagnosis is three to nine years. In the latest stages of the disease, patients become fully dependent on caregivers, seriously impacting the quality of life of the patient and their families. The complexity of this disorder makes it very unlikely that a single drug therapy or any other intervention by itself will be able to successfully treat the disease. The current approach is to focus on maintaining mental functionality and slowing down the progression of symptoms, mostly the ones related to memory loss and its consequences.
Cholinesterase inhibitors are a family of drugs prescribed for mild to moderate AD, and they have shown success in treating symptoms. Galantamine hydrobromide is a cholinesterase inhibitor that has demonstrated positive effects in improving the symptoms related to mild or moderate AD. However, galantamine hydrobromide, like other cholinesterase inhibitors, has side effects that may affect the administration of an effective dose. All other approved drugs in this class have similar and sometimes more severe side effects such as dizziness, headaches, stomach upset, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of appetite and eventual weight loss.
Our company is developing ALPHA-1062, as a nasal spray, avoiding the side effects observed with the oral administration of cholinesterase inhibitors. ALPHA-1062 is a new chemical entity and is designed to enter the blood stream via the nasal mucosa, but once in circulation quickly and entirely converts to galantamine without direct impact on the gastrointestinal system. We chose to use galantamine in our research above all other approved drugs primarily because of well documented scientific reports suggesting that when this drug is taken at the effective dose, patients tend to avoid entering nursing homes as quickly as those patients that don’t use the appropriate daily doses.
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
ALS is a neurodegenerative disease that causes the death of neurons (brain cells) controlling voluntary muscles (motor neurons). ALS usually begins with weakness in the arms or legs, or with difficulty speaking or swallowing. As the disease progresses the patient experiences muscle stiffness, spasms, weakness, and loss of muscle mass. Most patients eventually lose the ability to walk, to use their hands, speak, swallow, and breathe. The average survival from onset to death is approximately two to four years although some patients survive for decades. There is no known cure for ALS and the few treatments available focus on symptoms alone.
Our company is developing a potential new drug (ALPHA-602) candidate that has demonstrated specific protection of motor neurons in vitro and in vivo studies, as well as improved neuronal function. This potential product could be revolutionary in the treatment of this devastating disease.