GliaCure’s primary focus is on glial targets that have been overlooked by other drug development companies; consequently, there is a rich array of glial targets available for the development of new therapeutics.
The company has developed a small molecule clinical candidate – GC021109 for a glial target that has two primary actions downstream of target engagement: the stimulation of phagocytosis and anti-inflammatory actions in which levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines are reduced.
GC021109 is currently being developed primarily as a disease modifying treatment of Alzheimer’s disease; however, its dual phagocytosis and anti-inflammatory actions have the potential to affect other disorders.
Stimulating phagocytosis has the potential to clear a-synuclein, a known disease-causing molecule that accumulates in the brains of Parkinson’s patients. Recent studies also point to the importance of inflammation contributing to Parkinson’s disease. GC021109 reduces the levels of IL-13 and IL-4, two cytokines receiving attention in the Parkinson’s field because their receptor is enriched in dopaminergic neurons and can promote dopaminergic neuron cell death.
GC021109 reduces IL-12 and IL-17, which are known to be key pro-inflammatory molecules in psoriasis.
Evidence suggests that the application of the endogenous ligand for GliaCure’s target to the cornea reduces intraocular pressure. This provides a new therapeutic opportunity in glaucoma. Drusen accumulation in dry macular degeneration, for which there is currently no treatment, also contains amyloid β, raising the potential for an additional indication for GliaCure’s small molecule family.
Interleukin-17, a circulating cytokine reduced by GC021109, has been recognized as an important target for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
In addition to its programs using GC021109, GliaCure has a pipeline program for the development of therapeutics for astrocytic targets related to neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders.
GliaCure is building on its existing discoveries on the role of astrocytes as a critical conduit for mediating fast-acting antidepressive effects and identify targets for the development of an entirely new class of antidepressive therapy.
The development of ligands that stimulate the astrocytic release of adenosine will have the potential to become a new class of sleep aid.