Regis and Joan Duffy Research Centre, Charlottetown
Neurodyn Inc. works with bioactive compounds to develop treatments for Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, ALS, and chronic nerve pain. The company produces natural and gene-based therapeutics and studies the early stages of neurological disease, looking for therapeutic diagnostics and appropriate points of intervention.
“This is our 10th year of operation on PEI,” says Dr. Denis Kay, who was born in Charlottetown and is one of the founders of Neurodyn.
“The company started on PEI in 2006 with an idea and a single technology. The idea was to look at animal models that recreate human neurological disease conditions early in the development of the disease and to test potential therapeutics. We have made great progress, and have grown from a single company to a group of four related companies.”
Neurodyn has an R&D laboratory at the Regis and Joan Duffy Research Centre on the UPEI campus, where it operates as an incubator to identify and validate therapeutic targets and potential therapeutics. In 2010, they began to offer testing capacity and activities through a contract research organization called Central Nervous System | Contract Research Organization (CNS|CRO).
“One of our first successes in the assessment of early disease development in animal models is a biologic protein therapeutin that has broad neuroprotective capacity in four age-related neurological diseases and one neurodegenerative disease of childhood – spinal muscular atrophy, which is the leading genetic cause of death in children.
“We have taken this program through a complete proof of concept in these four disease models using a gene therapy approach. Gene therapy is the future for neurological disease treatment, but the future isn’t now – it is probably five to 15 years down the road.”
In 2012, Neurodyn acquired the assets of Neuroquest, a neuropathic pain focussed program that has a number of compounds.
Neurodyn Cognition began in 2015, and is finishing its phase 1 clinical trial for a therapy that can be used during the first indication for Alzheimers Disease.
“At present, we have 14 staff. Essentially all of them, except for the CEO who lives in BC, are now living on PEI.
Technologies for the early indications of Alzheimers Disease are being developed and validated by Neurodyn Life Sciences or its subsidiary CNS|CRO. “The growing activity within CNS|CRO is where our greatest HR growth has been over the last year,” says Denis.
“We have just completed two hires for this area, one at a technical level and one at a senior PhD management science level. We anticipate before the end of the year to make a minimum of two additional hires – a technologist and a scientist.”
Neurodyn is working on a number of new products derived from natural ingredients such as daffodils and geraniums that are in clinical trials or in the early stages of being launched in the US. One product is for patients with post shingles pain, and another improves memory in Alzeimer’s patients more effectively than the drug already on the market.
Cerbella is a new high potency Omega 3 product made from green tea and ginseng that promotes brain health. This product is undergoing its current launch in the US.
Another set of double blind placebo controlled clinical trials is being done with aged healthy subjects who have a very mild drop in cognitive capacity. “That data will come out at the end of June, 2016,” says Dr. Kay.
“We have great hopes for the success of this supplement. We know that it is working well. In Canada, we should be able to make a label claim that it is clinically demonstrated to improve cognition in an aging population.
“We will be marketing our products through e-commerce and through dispensing practitioners and naturopathic physicians in the US. The second follow-up product in this line, tentatively called Cerbella, will be focussed exclusively on the professional market.”
Bioscience jobs are posted on the careers section of the PEI BioAlliance website at www.peibioalliance.com.