BioWorld International Correspondent

ZICHRON YA'AKOV, Israel - Citing an "an urgent need to rethink the goals of Alzheimer's disease treatment," Mindset BioPharmaceuticals Ltd. President and CEO Daniel Chain is stressing his company's Alzheimer's vaccine, which was the subject of a patent in the U.S.

"More and more people are becoming ill, and there is no cure in sight," he said, adding that current drugs target "symptoms rather than the underlying pathogenesis."

Mindset's platform creates drugs that focus on the disease to alleviate early stage onset cognitive deficits, to slow progression and even prevent degeneration altogether, he said.

The Mindset Alzheimer's vaccine could solve the safety problem that occurred in an Alzheimer's vaccine trial last spring. A Phase IIa study was stopped because of immunogenic side effects, although it proved the long-term efficacy of the vaccine. The vaccine (AN-1792), was produced by Elan Corp. plc, of Dublin, Ireland, and Wyeth-Ayerst Laboratories, of Madison, N.J.

On Monday, Mindset said the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issued a notice of allowance for its Alzheimer's disease vaccine. The company made the announcement at the annual Society for Neuroscience meeting in New Orleans.

The vaccine is being developed collaboratively and under exclusive license to Mindset from scientists at New York University School of Medicine. The vaccine is based on soluble homologues of human beta-amyloid protein, and it elicits an immunogenic response against the neurotoxic amyloid protein that forms insoluble aggregates that characteristically accumulate in nerve cells in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

Cheryl Fitzer-Attas, Mindset vice president of research and development, told BioWorld International: "The vaccine we are developing shows efficacy in a transgenic animal model of Alzheimer's disease, reducing deposition of toxic amyloid inclusions and fibrils in the brain and improving cognitive function. Mindset's technology overcomes the immunogenic problem that stopped the Elan-Wyeth trial, by closer immunological matching. And we are exploring how to pre-screen Alzheimer's patients for their compatibility with the vaccine."

Chain said: "The vaccine patent [allowance] underscores Mindset's lead position in developing a safe and efficacious therapeutic vaccine to treat Alzheimer's disease. This position is well supported by a strong existing intellectual property portfolio, with two other drug candidates under development and ongoing programs using transgenic mouse models."

MindGenix Inc., a subsidiary of Mindset based in Albany, N.Y., provides contract research using transgenic models.