For patients and their families who live with dementia — and those committed to its treatment and prevention – the cost of the disease is extraordinarily high and the need for new solutions is urgent.

The need to take action, improve treatment, and pursue the eventual prevention of Alzheimer's disease, is great. Unfortunately, the field has seen only failure while searching for therapeutic interventions that alter the inextricable course of the disease. In recent years, Canadian biotech companies have assembled groups of esteemed Canadian researchers and international collaborators to create multi-faceted teams that are pushing the boundaries of what's possible in brain health research.

"The strategy we have implemented has taken account of our understanding of the multiple failures of the past."

KalGene Pharmaceuticals is one such company, focused on developing a unique Alzheimer's disease therapeutic agent. Using methodologies spanning basic molecular science to pre-clinical models, using biomarkers and translational imaging, the company is now engaged in advanced biomanufacturing and early patient identification to enter clinical development. The company is well-positioned to use key national resources for clinical proof of principle, and leverage big biotech and pharma commercial infrastructure to provide hope for patients.

Greater need demands a new approach

"The technologies that developed at the National Research Council of Canada and licensed to KalGene have been combined to effectively deliver an Alzheimer's medicine to the target site inside the brain of Alzheimer's patients," explains Dr. Jim Callaway, CEO of KalGene. Dr. Nathan Yoganathan, Chief Scientific Officer, expresses similar enthusiasm for the project: "It's a remarkable example of a collaborative venture, combining the best of Canadian biological drug design ingenuity with world-leading clinical insight, to create a molecule with a real promise. We are proud to move forward," he says.

With studies supported by Canadian venture capital firm Lumira, as well as the Weston Brain Foundation, the team expects KalGene to hold the first clinical trial of its Alzheimer's therapeutic candidate by early 2020.