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July 01, 2021

The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation and Harrington Discovery Institute to Support Promising Research to Restore Brain Function in People with Alzheimer’s Disease

Dr. Paul Fish of University College London and Dr. Paul Worley of Johns Hopkins University selected for their work aimed at restoring brain function

NEW YORK, NY – The Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland have granted ADDF-Harrington Scholar Awards to two Principal Investigators, Paul Fish, Ph.D., of University College London’s Drug Discovery Institute and Paul Worley, M.D., of Johns Hopkins University.

Dr. Fish and Dr. Worley will receive funding and therapeutic development guidance from a team of industry experts to help advance their research towards therapies for patients. Pending successful achievement of developmental milestones, both scientists are eligible to receive up to $600,000 in financial support for their work.

Now in its seventh year, the ADDF-Harrington partnership accelerates the translation of innovative academic research into medicines that will treat, prevent or slow Alzheimer's disease.

“This award supports innovative researchers who have identified through their basic science research novel ways to treat Alzheimer’s disease,” said Dr. Howard Fillit, the ADDF’s Founding Executive Director and Chief Science Officer. “Without financial support and expert guidance in drug development, so much of the innovative research in academic institutions would never move beyond the laboratory.”

Dr. Fish has identified a drug candidate that aims to restore the health of the blood-brain barrier in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. The blood-brain barrier controls what enters the brain, including glucose, which is essential for providing energy to the brain, and what exits the brain, which is important in the clearance of toxic waste products. Dr. Fish has developed a lead molecule that works by inhibiting an enzyme in the brain called NOTUM, which is operated aberrantly in some people with Alzheimer’s disease, and which is essential to the proper development and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier.

Dr. Worley has identified a drug candidate that targets a protein called NPTX2, which is necessary to maintain the normal balance of nerve cell signaling in the brain. This balance is disrupted in Alzheimer’s disease and is thought to contribute to cognitive deficits and memory impairment. Dr. Worley’s lead molecule, called a target site blocker, is being optimized for testing in non-human primates before moving on to the next stage of testing in humans.

“Leveraging the combined expertise and resources of the ADDF and Harrington Discovery Institute helps us address unmet needs where treatments remain elusive,” said Jonathan S. Stamler, M.D., President of the Harrington Discovery Institute and Robert S. and Sylvia K. Reitman Family Foundation Distinguished Chair of Cardiovascular Innovation and Professor of Medicine at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University. “Through the work of these outstanding scientists, we are moving closer to developing much-needed therapies that improve human health.”

“With Dr. Fish, we welcome our first ADDF-Harrington Scholar in the U.K. It is exciting to see the growing interest in our program and the high quality of submissions we continue to attract, now internationally. We are well-positioned to identify the most promising discoveries in academic medical centers and help advance them into new medicines for patients with Alzheimer’s disease,” said Andrew A. Pieper, M.D., Ph.D., Director, Neurotherapeutics Center, Harrington Discovery Institute, Morley Mather Chair in Neuropsychiatry at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University.

Dr. Worley and Dr. Fish were selected through an international call for cutting-edge science showing potential to advance rapidly to clinical trials in Alzheimer’s disease.