The Institute for Regenerative Medicine (IREM) is pleased to share the news that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved regulatory application for the use of aducanumab in the United States for the treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common form of dementia and accounts for 50-75% of all cases worldwide.
The approval of aducanumab has a history of three decades of research and development. IREM professors Roger Nitsch and Christoph Hock together with a group of researchers at the University of Zurich (UZH) and Neurimmune (a spin-off company of UZH) investigated why many elderly people stay mentally healthy. They gained knowledge of human anti-amyloid antibodies that led to the discovery of aducanumab’s structure. Aducanumab is a human antibody that binds and removes brain amyloid in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Neurimmune entered a collaboration with Biogen in 2007 to further develop aducanumab.
At IREM, researchers move their discoveries from basic research to clinical application aiming to develop novel therapies for patients. IREM offers combined access to modern research facilities, cleanroom technologies (GMP Center for Therapy Development) and a clinical trial center (Center for Prevention and Dementia Therapy). With its pioneering teaching program in BioMed Entrepreneurship, IREM is training students and junior scientists to create successful spin-offs for the development of their innovations.
“The FDA approval of aducanumab is a good example how UZH innovation is developed from first experiments in the University, through formation of a spin-off company and global industrial collaborations into a novel therapeutic option for patients”, says Prof. Simon Hoerstrup, Director of the IREM, adding: "supporting the next wave of promising projects in translating innovation to patients was one of the inspirations for founding the IREM.”
Sevigny, J., Chiao, P., Bussière, T. et al. The antibody aducanumab reduces Aβ plaques in Alzheimer’s disease. Nature 537, 50–56 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1038/nature19323