Max Planck Society grants license for new drug candidates
In 2008, teams of scientists led by Armin Giese of the University of Munich and Christian Griesinger of the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen developed a substance called anle138b, which has been shown to delay nerve cell damage in mice to an unprecedented degree.
Unlike antibodies anle138b is a small molecule that can readily cross the blood-brain barrier and cell membranes and thus renders oligomers harmless at the site of action within the neuron. Antibodies cannot do this because of their size.
The special thing about anle138b is that it directly attaches to alpha-synuclein oligomers and inhibits their formation.
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen
Andrei Leonov and Sergey Ryazanov, both chemists in his Department, synthesized the promising active ingredients.
Treated mice live longer
If genetically modified mice with various abnormalities such as human Parkinson’s disease are treated with anle138b, damage to the nerve cells is essentially halted. The animals live longer and are better able to coordinate their movements than their untreated counterparts. Furthermore, mice with multi-system atrophy treated with anle138b lose almost no nerve cells and form less toxic protein deposits in the brain. They are also more agile.
Giese and Griesinger have successfully continued their cooperation with the development of further chemically modified drug candidates. In March 2019, Modag negotiated a license agreement with Max Planck Innovation for the exclusive use of the SERY patent. This technology can be used to synthesize derivatives with a simpler formulation and higher oral availability.
In 2013, Modag exclusively licensed its first basic patent, which includes anle138b, from the University of Munich and the Max Planck Society. Together with the Bavarian Patent Alliance for the University, they held shares of Modag since then. With private funding from the Modag CEO, Thorsten Matthias, the company successfully completed the preclinical studies.
Building on this, Modag concluded a Series A financing round of €12 million in which the Max Planck Society also participated. Astrid Giegold, Rolf Herrlinger, and Matthias Stein-Gerlach from Max-Planck Innovation have intensively supported Modag in their scientific and contractual implementation since the founding idea.
We are quite pleased that thanks to the additional funding, Modag is well positioned to be able to transfer the promising results of basic research to the development of drugs against Parkinson’s disease and multi-system atrophy for the good of patients.
Start-up & Portfolio Manager
Max Planck Innovation GmbH
About Max Planck Innovation
Max Planck Innovation is responsible for the technology transfer of the Max Planck Society and, as such, the link between industry and basic research. With our interdisciplinary team we advise and support scientists of the Max Planck Institutes in evaluating their inventions, filing patents and founding companies. We offer industry a unique access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. Thus, we perform an important task: the transfer of basic research results into products, which contribute to the economic and social progress.