The biotech companies Pharnext and Biosystems International, have teamed up with Bordeaux Hospital, the University of Bordeaux and the Inserm Centre for Epidemiology and Biostatistics in the DIPPAL (DIagnostic Précoce et Pléothérapie de la maladie d’Alzheimer) project in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), which has funding of €10.4 million from the French state innovation agency OSEO.
The DIPPAL project will run for six years and will be financed by OSEO’s Strategic Industrial Innovation Programme with a financial package that comprises a €2.7 million grant and a €7.7 million loan, repayable only if the project is a success. The project will be led by Pharnext.
At present, there is neither a simple, reliable, non-invasive test for early diagnosis of AD, nor an effective disease-modifying treatment. Given this, the DIPPAL project's three main objectives are to:
- develop and validate a prototype multi-parameter blood test for the early, reliable diagnosis of AD.
- discover a drug based on Pharnext’s Pleodrug technology for the treatment of AD, based on above tests and take it through to the end of Phase II clinical trials.
- develop a companion test to monitor the effectiveness of the drugs in humans and/or to determine the sub-population of patients that will respond to the drug.
The OSEO Strategic Industrial Innovation Programme was set up promote the emergence of European champions. It supports ambitious, innovative, collaborative projects through to commercialisation, which are driven by medium-sized companies (with fewer than 5,000 employees) and small businesses with fewer than 250 employees. The projects that get funding result from technological breakthroughs, which will not get to market without fostering measures from the public sector.
Funding is generally in the €3-10 million range, as grants-in aid and loans, which are repayable if the project is a success.