Avilex Pharma is developing novel inhibitors of PDZ domain proteins to target unmet medical needs. Our lead candidate – AVLX-144 – is a dimeric peptide-like drug candidate for the treatment of ischemic stroke, which targets the intracellular scaffolding protein, postsynaptic density protein 95 (PSD-95).

PSD-95 bridges the glutamate receptor subtype, the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor and neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS) via its two PDZ domains. This is specifically exploited by AVLX-144, which binds to both these PDZ domains in PSD-95 simultaneously.

The specific design of AVLX-144 provides several key advantages such as exceptionally high affinity to PSD-95, increased stability and enhanced in vivo neuroprotective properties. AVLX-144 is an extensively optimized dimeric PSD-95 inhibitor, and currently a preclinical lead candidate for the treatment of ischemic stroke.

Key References

Bach, A., C.N. Chi, G.F. Pang, L. Olsen, A.S. Kristensen, P. Jemth and K. Strømgaard, Design and synthesis of highly potent and plasma-stable dimeric inhibitors of the PSD-95/ NMDA receptor interaction. Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 48: 9685-9689 (2009)

Bach, A., B.H. Clausen, M. Møller, B. Vestergaard, C.N. Chi, A. Round, P.L. Sørensen, K.B. Nissen, J.S. Kastrup, M. Gajhede, P. Jemth, A.S. Kristensen, P. Lundström, K.L. Lambertsen and K. Strømgaard. A high-affinity, dimeric inhibitor of PSD-95 bivalently interacts with PDZ1-2 and protects against ischemic brain damage. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 109: 3317-3322 (2012)

New paradigm in clinical stroke studies

Clinical studies of ischemic stroke are currently undergoing exciting changes, in particular with the ability of early onset treatment. Recently seminal examples of this have been published including the PHANTOM-S, MR CLEAN, and FAST-MAG studies. This provides an exciting perspective for new treatment of ischemic stroke.

Getting chemistry and biology to communicate

Copenhagen Spin-outs features an in-depth profile of Avilex Pharma and its CEO/CSO Kristian Strømgaard.

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