We use technology as a tool, not as an end in itself. At DermaXon we believe that every drug discovery technology should be used to discover new therapeutic strategy or treatment and not to convince private investors or increase stock prices.
We’re passionate about combating the effect of time on health and well-being. Therefore we constantly challenge ourselves to expand our scientific expertise through collaboration with academic researcher leaders. We have world-class discovery projects ongoing in the following areas.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive and ultimately fatal neurodegenerative disease that affects more than five million people in the USA and this figure is expected to jump to 13.8M by 2050 for people age 65 or older. Currently there is no cure for AD. Available medicines are aimed only at temporarily reducing symptoms and slowing down the progression of the disease. While many new compounds have been developed to treat AD, they have not been successful in clinical studies and consequently there is a great need for development of new therapeutic strategies. Recent data show that retinoic acid (RA) the carboxylic acid metabolite of vitamin A, plays an important role in maintaining neuronal plasticity, and learning and memory in human or in transgenic animal model of AD, and support our hypothesis that increasing RA in the brain will improve AD patient outcomes. DermaXon uses inhibition of RA clearance, instead of treatment with RA itself as a novel therapeutic strategy to treat or prevent progression of cognitive impairments associated with AD and to limit the side effects associated with RA treatment. The clearance of RA is predominantly mediated by cytochrome P450 family 26 enzymes (CYP26). DermaXon’s goal is to develop one of our identified selective inhibitors of the different CYP26 isoforms, to increase RA concentration in the brain, and to treat memory impairment associated with AD.
Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF): Alzheimer
Ichthyosis is a general term used to describe a large and heterogeneous group of cornification disorders that are characterized clinically by persistently dry, thickened, rough and scaly skin. Currently there is no cure for ichthyosis. Available medicines are aimed only at moisturizing and exfoliating to reduce dryness, scaling, cracking and build-up of skin. Most types of ichthyosis, except for autosomal dominant ichthyosis vulgaris, exhibiting severe scaling are not sufficiently improved with moisturizing or keratolytic creams. Retinoic acid (RA) derivatives normalize deregulated proliferative activity of keratinocyte and exert anti-inflammatory activity, providing an efficient therapeutic strategy in the treatment of a large number of dermatological conditions including ichthyosis, and support our hypothesis that increasing RA in the skin will improve ichthyosis patient outcomes. However, RA induces its own clearance in the skin during long-term use required for the treatment of chronic skin diseases. In addition, the use of synthetic retinoids is limited by side-effects. DermaXon uses selective inhibition of RA clearance in the skin, as a novel therapeutic strategy to treat or prevent progression of cornification disorders associated with ichthyosis. DermaXon’s goal is to develop a novel selective compound highly specific on the CYP26 isoform responsible of RA metabolism in normal skin, thereby avoiding side effects and non-target P450 inhibition associated with previously described CYP26 inhibitors.
Foundation for Ichthyosis & Related SkinTypes: www.firstskinfoundation.org
Pain is a leading health problem in the United States with 20% of Americans suffering from daily chronic pain. Neuropathic pain can be induced by peripheral nerve injury, diabetes or chemotherapeutic agents such as paclitaxel. Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a chemotherapeutic-induced adverse reaction that becomes a dose-limiting toxicity of chemotherapy that accompanies the administration of taxanes (paclitaxel), platinum-containing drugs and vinca alkaloids. Neuropathic pain management remains an unmet clinical need with only half of patients receiving adequate pain relief using drugs with adverse central nervous system (CNS) side effects. DermaXon identified a novel class of compounds modulating an undisclosed relevant target to treat chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy.
Parkinson’s disease is a chronic and progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting nearly one million people in the US. The cause is unknown, and there is currently no cure, that can reduce loss of dopaminergic neurons. At DermaXon we selectively inhibit RA metabolism in the brain to provide a therapeutic advantage for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease.