Cenna Biosciences is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development, and commercialization of new agents for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The company was founded in 2006 to translate over a decade’s academic research at UC San Diego by the founders of this technology, Drs. Nazneen Dewji and S. Jonathan Singer. The technology addresses the underlying cause of the disease, the inappropriate deposition of the toxic species, ß-amyloid (Aß), in the brains of patients with AD. The company has developed a novel druggable target and has discovered several lead peptide compounds that are active in vivo.
AD affects approximately one-tenth of the population over the age of 65, one in two by age 90. It is estimated that nearly 28 million men and women suffer from AD-related dementia worldwide, and the estimated cost of caring for them is $156 billion per year. The prevalence of AD is expected to grow at a rate of 2.5% per year in the seven major pharmaceutical markets of the world. There is currently no cure for the disease. The basic pathology of the disease includes the production and accumulation of Aß, which is recognized to be the major neurotoxic agent in AD. There are currently no anti-Aß therapies available.
Cenna’s founders have proposed and shown evidence for a fundamentally different, novel, and promising approach to inhibit the production of Aß that differentiates this company from other companies and research efforts in tackling AD. Their unique approach has allowed the inhibition of Aß production in vitro and in vivo by blocking the specific cell-to-cell interaction between two membrane proteins critically involved in the production of Aß, namely ß-amyloid precursor protein and presenilin. Cenna has used this technology to discover inhibitors of Aß production that are being developed into a drug therapy for AD.
The technology that forms the basis of Cenna’s approach and lead compounds is covered by U.S. and foreign patent applications filed by UCSD and exclusively licensed to Cenna. The peptides that have shown efficacy in reducing Aß production in transgenic mice are novel.
Corporate Development Strategy
The work so far has been funded by Cenna’s founders, National Institutes of Health, and other public grants for a total cost of about $8 million. With a series of lead compounds in development, Cenna is working to raise a pre-series A round of $5 million to complete the preclinical phase and to identify pharmaceutical partners to assist in the clinical development of these compounds.
Cenna Biosciences, Inc.
505 Coast Boulevard Suite 102, La Jolla, CA 92037
Tel: (858) 456-0820
Fax: (858) 456-0825
Nazneen Dewji, PhD – Founder, President and CEO
S.J. Singer, PhD – Founder
Founders/NIH/other grants – $8 million
Nazneen Dewji, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine
School of Medicine
S. J. Singer, PhD
Professor of Biology
Division of Biological Sciences