Cennerv Pharma is developing two preclinical candidates, CB2233 and CB8411, with a new mechanism of action for the treatment of dementia. These molecules modify cognitive performance via modulation of the release of glutamine and protect the brain from neuronal damage.
Dementia describes a broad range of CNS diseases which cause long term loss of the ability to remember and learn in a way that the daily function of the patient is severely affected, particularly for the elderly. The number of Americans ages 65 and older is projected to more than double from 46 million today to over 98 million by 20601. The total estimated worldwide burden associated with dementia was US$604 billion in 20102. There is an estimate that as of 2013 there are 44 million people suffering from dementia worldwide. This number will increase to approximately 75.6 million in 2030 and reaching 135.5 million by 20503. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is staged between normal forgetfulness due to aging and the development of dementia. People with MCI have mild problems with memory. These problems do not yet interfere with daily activities. The FDA has recently recognized MCI as disorder. Approximately half of the people with MCI will go on to develop dementia and 20% will develop Alzheimer’s disease.
A number of drugs are currently available for use by people with dementia. These drugs fall into two categories, cholinergic treatments and memantine. Cholinergic treatments comprise drugs such as cholinesterase inhibitors such as donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Reminyl), and rivastigmine (Exelon). Memantine is the first in a novel class of dementia medications acting on the glutamatergic system by blocking NMDA receptors. Common adverse drug reactions of memantine include confusion, dizziness, drowsiness, headache, insomnia, agitation, hallucinations and exceedingly rare, extrapyramidal side effects. These drugs are not disease modifying and thus have limited efficacy.
With very high incidence, dementia is currently a leading unmet medical need and a costly burden on public health. The challenge is to develop efficacious, safe new treatments that improve memory and modify the progression of disease.
- The Population Reference Bureau report Fact Sheet: Aging in the United States (January 2016, http://www.prb.org/Publications/Media-Guides/2016/aging-unitedstates-fact-sheet.aspx)
- Wimo A et al. The worldwide economic impact of dementia 2010. Alzheimer’s & Dementia 9 (1): 1-11.e3, 2013
- Alzheimer’s Disease International: Dementia statistics. http://www.alz.co.uk/research/statistics