News and Articles

New Blood Test Can Identify Toxic Protein Years Before Alzheimer’s Symptoms Appear

December 6, 2022

“Researchers have developed a new laboratory test that can measure levels of a “toxic” protein that is highly correlated with developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) years before any symptoms of cognitive impairment appear. Published on December 5 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciencesthe findings could be used to identify people at risk for AD, as well as help develop early treatments for the disease, according to researchers. 

What clinicians and researchers have wanted is a reliable diagnostic test for Alzheimer’s disease — and not just one that confirms a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, but a way to detect signs of the disease before cognitive impairment happens, says senior author Valerie Daggett, PhD, a professor of bioengineering in the University of Washington (UW) Molecular Engineering and Sciences Institute in Seattle.”

 

 

Alzheimer's test could diagnose 'disease of exclusion' a lot earlier

December 6, 2022

“Alzheimer’s disease is a “disease of exclusion”—that is, a condition that doctors settle on only when all others have been ruled out. But what if you could take a routine blood test at your annual physical that could show you’re on the way to developing it?

And then, if nefarious proteins in the blood are detected, what if you could be prescribed an inhalable drug that neutralizes them

This is what Valerie Daggett, PhD, envisions for the future of treating Alzheimer’s disease. With her company AltPep, Daggett has developed an assay to detect disease-triggering proteins called toxic oligomers, precursors to the amyloid plaques characteristic of Alzheimer’s.”

 

 

A New Study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) Demonstrates the Ability of a Novel Peptide to Selectively Detect and Neutralize an Early Molecular Trigger of Alzheimer’s and Other Neurodegenerative Diseases

December 5, 2022

“AltPep Corporation, a privately held biotechnology company developing early disease-modifying treatments and detection tools for amyloid diseases, today announced that this week the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) will publish results of a groundbreaking study demonstrating a customized, synthetic peptide’s ability to selectively detect Alzheimer’s disease. The novel approach detailed in “SOBA: Development and Testing of a Soluble Oligomer Binding Assay for Detection of Amyloidogenic Toxic Oligomers” allows detection of Alzheimer’s disease at all stages…”

 

 

New blood test can detect ‘toxic’ protein years before Alzheimer’s symptoms emerge, study shows

December 5, 2022

“Today, by and large, patients receive a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s only after they exhibit well-known signs of the disease, such as memory loss. By that point, the best treatment options simply slow further progression of symptoms.

But research has shown that the seeds of Alzheimer’s are planted years — even decades — earlier, long before the cognitive impairments surface that make a diagnosis possible. Those seeds are amyloid beta proteins that misfold and clump together, forming small aggregates called oligomers. Over time, through a process scientists are still trying to understand, those “toxic” oligomers of amyloid beta are thought to develop into Alzheimer’s.”

 

 

Review Article. The role of α-sheet structure in amyloidogenesis: characterization and implications

November 23, 2022

Review Full Article and Download as a PDF. By Tatum Prosswimmer and Valerie Daggett

Open Biol. 12: 220261. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsob.220261

Amyloid diseases are linked to protein misfolding whereby the amyloidogenic protein undergoes a conformational change, aggregates and eventually forms amyloid fibrils. While the amyloid fibrils and plaques are hallmarks of these diseases, they typically form late in the disease process and do not correlate with disease. Instead, there is growing evidence that smaller, soluble toxic oligomers form prior and appear to be early triggers of the molecular pathology underlying these diseases. Nearly 20 years ago, we proposed the α-sheet hypothesis after discovering that the early conformational changes observed…”

 

 

Promising data from large Alzheimer’s study bodes well for this Seattle startup

September 30, 2022

“Alzheimer’s disease researchers were buoyed by positive data released Tuesday from a large clinical trial of an experimental therapy being developed by Biogen and Eisai.

The early data suggest that the treatment, called lecanemab, eases cognitive decline. The findings also rejuvenated hope in a therapeutic approach targeting peptides that form nasty clumps in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s.

 

 

Seattle startup aiming to detect, treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease raises cash

August 22, 2022

The news: University of Washington spinout AltPep recently raised $44.4 million, according to a regulatory filing. The company declined to discuss the filing, but founder and CEO Valerie Daggett spoke with GeekWire about AltPep’s progress on its experimental blood test to detect Alzheimer’s disease at the earliest stages.

“We’re going after that first molecular trigger for the pathology,” said Daggett, who is also a UW professor of bioengineering. The 3-year old startup is also developing a diagnostic for Parkinson’s disease and treatments for both conditions…”

 

 

Review Article. Amyloid-β Oligomers: Multiple Moving Targets

April 28, 2022

Review Full Article and Download as a PDF. By Dylan Shea and Valerie Daggett.

Biophysica 20222(2), 91-110; https://doi.org/10.3390/biophysica2020010

 “Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that is characterized clinically by progressive cognitive decline and pathologically by the β-sheet rich fibril plaque deposition of the amyloid-β (Aβ) peptide in the brain. While plaques are a hallmark of AD, plaque burden is not correlated with cognitive impairment. Instead, Aβ oligomers formed during the aggregation process represent the main agents of neurotoxicity, which occurs 10–20 years before patients begin to show symptoms…”

 

 

AltPep Receives FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for SOBA-AD, A Simple Blood Test for the Detection of Alzheimer’s Disease

March 1, 2022

AltPep Corporation, a privately held biotechnology company developing early disease-modifying treatments and detection tools for amyloid diseases, today announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted the company Breakthrough Device designation for its SOBA-AD diagnostic in development for Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The inclusion in the FDA Breakthrough Devices Program means that AltPep can expect prioritized review of the submission of their device. The long-term potential for the SOBA-AD assay lies in its ability to detect disease early, even before symptoms arise. Early detection may lead to more effective treatments that limit cognitive decline in AD patients.

 

 

AltPep Appoints Nancy Hill to Newly Created Position of Chief Product Officer

February 28, 2022

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AltPep Corporation, a privately held biotechnology company developing early disease-modifying treatments and detection tools for amyloid diseases, today announced that accomplished executive Nancy Hill has assumed the newly created role of Chief Product Officer. In this role, Nancy is responsible for product development and commercialization of AltPep’s pipeline.

Seattle-based biotech AltPep wants to change that. The company, which spun out of bioengineering professor Valerie Daggett’s research lab in March 2019, has developed a platform that allows for both early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s. In January it raised $23 million in Series A investment funding to advance its work.

 

 

Alzheimer’s research gets a boost

April 15, 2021

More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s disease — a number projected to rise to 14 million by 2050. While there are treatments that can provide symptomatic relief, currently there is no cure. Diagnosis isn’t great either: Alzheimer’s can incubate undetected for 10-20 years before an individual begins showing symptoms.

Seattle-based biotech AltPep wants to change that. The company, which spun out of bioengineering professor Valerie Daggett’s research lab in March 2019, has developed a platform that allows for both early diagnosis and treatment of Alzheimer’s. In January it raised $23 million in Series A investment funding to advance its work.

 

 

Seattle Startup Chases Alzheimer’s with $23 Million Series A

January 15, 2021

Alzheimer’s is the white whale of the pharmaceutical world. This week a new Captain Ahab came on the scene with some new tools for hunting down an old target.

Seattle-based AltPep Corporation raised $23.15 million in a Series A financing round to take their breakthrough amyloid targeting platform to development. Based on technology developed at a University of Washington (UW) lab, the biotech has three targets: early diagnostic for Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), anti-biofilm therapies and coatings and disease-modifying therapeutics for AD.

 

 

AltPep announces closing $23.150 million Series A investment round

January 15, 2021

AltPep announces closing $23.150 million Series A investment round, let by Matrix Capital Management with significant participation by Alexandria Venture Investments. In conjunction with the financing, David Goel, Managing General Partner and Co-founder of Matrix Capital Management and Joel Marcus, Executive Chairman and Founder of Alexandria Real Estate Equities/Alexandria Venture Investments, have joined AltPep’s Board of Directors.

 

 

Seattle biotech startup AltPep raises $23.1M to tackle Alzheimer’s and related diseases

January 14, 2021

AltPep, a Seattle-based biotech startup tackling amyloid protein disorders, has raised $23.1 million in a Series A funding round.

The venture spun out the University of Washington in March 2019. Its founder and CEO is Valerie Daggett, a longtime professor in the Department of Bioengineering in the College of Engineering.

 

 

AltPep announces that Chad Robins joined AltPep Board of Directors

September 20, 2020

Chad is the co-founder and CEO of Adaptive Biotechnologies, a commercial-stage biotech company in Seattle that aims to translate the genetics of the adaptive immune system into clinical products to diagnose and treat disease.

 

 

Seattle-based life sciences consulting and incubator company, Intutive-X joins AltPep launch

April 17, 2019

AltPep discovered α-sheet, a new, nonstandard protein structure, associated with toxicity in computer simulations of amyloid proteins and then designed de novo nontoxic α-sheet peptides to be complementary to the α-sheet structure in toxic species. Outcome: Proprietary platform targeting toxic species for both early diagnostics and disease-modifying therapeutics.
AltPep’s patented technology provides a groundbreaking platform for targeting amyloid diseases and improving human health.

 

 

GeekWire—To fight Alzheimer’s disease, Univ. of Washington researchers target plaque-causing proteins

April 16, 2019

Researchers at the University of Washington have created a molecule that aims to stop the formation of protein clusters thought to be a prime contributor to Alzheimer’s disease.

In a healthy brain, these amyloid beta proteins don’t cause problems. But in patients with Alzheimer’s, they stick together and become toxic. The team of researchers set out to create a compound that would block the protein clusters, called amyloid beta oligomers, from forming.

 

 

Medical News Today—Alzheimer’s: Synthetic protein blocks toxic beta-amyloid

April 16, 2019

Alzheimer’s is a relentless disease in which toxic clusters of beta-amyloid protein collect in brain cells. Now, scientists have designed a synthetic peptide, or small protein, that can block beta-amyloid in its early and most harmful stages.

 

 

 

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News—Alzheimer’s Disease Toxicity Halted by Synthetic Peptides

April 15, 2019

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is characterized by the formation of large, insoluble deposits, or plaques, of amyloid-β peptide (Aβ) in the brain. These plaques are generated by the aggregation of smaller, soluble clumps made up of perhaps a dozen or so Aβ monomers. Recent research indicates that it is these smaller Aβ aggregates, or oligomers, and not the larger deposits, which represent the toxic elements of AD.

 

 

Research America, Investment in Research Saves Lives and Money Series—Alzheimer’s Fact SheetGoes Here

April 15, 2019

Alzheimer’s disease is a chronic, debilitating form of dementia, marked by memory loss, cognitive decline, behavioral disturbances, and difficulty communicating. While primarily affecting individuals age 65 and older, approximately 200,000 Americans under the age of 65 are living with early-onset Alzheimer’s.