Who and what is POLYNEURON?

Polyneuron is pioneering a novel therapeutic approach for the effective and safe treatment of antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases of the nervous system where a pathological role of anti-carbohydrate autoantibodies is well established. Polyneuron’s platform focus in on rare but devastating autoimmune diseases of the nervous system with an unmet medical need.

The company’s Antibody-Catch™ technology platform enables the chemical design of injectable glycopolymers that are able to selectively eliminate the pathological autoantibodies, while leaving the rest of the immune system intact. Polyneuron was founded as a University of Basel, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, spin-off in 2014.

With funding of about CHF 27 million to date, Polyneuron has delivered preclinical proof of principle with its lead compound PN-1007 for the treatment of anti-MAG neuropathy and obtained the orphan drug designation from the European Medicines Agency. In addition, foundations for a promising pipeline have been laid – the Antibody-Catch™ technology platform has wide-ranging applicability and can be used to target carbohydrate-binding proteins in the broadest sense. Polyneuron’s mission is to make Antibody-Catch™ a clinical reality, with the hope to make a difference in the lives of people suffering from devastating diseases.

 

Paradigm shifts in autoimmune diseases

The Antibody-Catch™ platform technology enables the development of biodegradable and injectable glycopolymers for highly specific interception of autoimmune disease antibodies. We are currently focusing on autoimmune diseases of the peripheral nervous system that involve autoantibodies against carbohydrate epitopes.

Get in touch
Contact information

Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG
Hochbergerstrasse 60C
CH-4057 Basel

eMail: info@polyneuron.com

Technology

Technology
How does “Antibody-Catch™” work?

Antibody-Catch™ is a platform technology developed by Polyneuron for the treatment of antibody-mediated autoimmune diseases. It facilitates the rational design of drugs that bind and block disease-causing autoantibodies. The platform-derived drugs are biodegradable high-molecular weight glycopolymers that offer multiple epitope-mimics to the autoantibodies. As a result, the drug serves as a decoy for the autoantibody, which gets sequestered and eliminated from the body. This highly specific treatment approach is fundamentally new and could potentially enable treatment options for previously incurable diseases.

Polyneuron currently focuses on autoimmune diseases which involve autoantibodies against carbohydrate epitopes.

Pipeline

The drugs that are derived from the Antibody-Catch™ platform hold great potential for a specific and especially safe immunotherapy. This is achieved by designing glycopolymer drugs, which are of low immunogenicity due to their carbohydrate nature. Polyneuron has extensive know-how in carbohydrate-based drug discovery and currently focuses to employ the Antibody-Catch™ technology for autoimmune diseases which involve autoantibodies against carbohydrate epitopes.

Preclinical

  • Identi­fication

  • Optimi­zation

  • Safety & Manu­facturing

Pre-ind

  • Review

  • Approval

Clinical

  • Phase 1

  • Phase 2

  • Phase 3

Anti-MAG neuropathy

PN-1007

Multifocal motor neuropathy

PN-1018

ABO-incompatible organ & stem cell transplantation

PN-032 & PN-056

IgA nephropathy

Lead identification

Pipeline
PN-1007 for the treatment of anti-MAG neuropathy

PN-1007 was designed to target the IgM autoantibodies that cause anti-MAG neuropathy. It mimics the natural HNK-1 carbohydrate epitope and strongly binds to the disease-causing antibodies in vitro. Thus, it blocks autoantibody-binding to the natural HNK-1 epitope on MAG at very low concentrations. In vivo the drug efficiently eliminates circulating anti-MAG antibodies. In 2017, promising in vivo proof of principle data has been published in the renowned journal PNAS. Polyneuron has already obtained the orphan drug designation from the European Medicines Agency for PN-1007 in anti-MAG neuropathy. CMC for PN-1007 has been stablished to major extent and clinical trial-enabling safety studies are ongoing. Treatment with PN-1007 would be the first antigen-specific therapy for anti-MAG neuropathy and therefore can be expected to be much more effective and selective in its mode of action compared to current unspecific immunosuppressive treatments for the disease, which are used off-label. PN-1007 may protect myelin sheaths in patients by eliminating the pathogenic antibodies and thus potentially even enable myelin restoration.

Pipeline
PN-1018 for treatment of multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN)

PN-1018 is being developed for the treatment of multifocal motor neuropathy (MMN). PN-1018 presents multiple mimics of the natural GM1 carbohydrate epitope that is attacked by affinity-matured anti-GM1 autoantibodies in patients suffering from MMN. Thus it acts as a scavenger for the pathogenic antibodies. To date we have shown, that PN-1018 glyopolymers can efficiently block the binding of pathogenic anti-GM1 autoantibodies of neuropathy patients to GM1 in vitro. Further in vitro and in vivo evaluation of PN-1018 has been initiated. PN-1018 has the potential to eliminate anti-GM1 autoantibodies in patients suffering from MMN and may preserve the motor nerves by blocking antibody-mediated as well as complement-mediated pathogenic anti-GM1 antibody effects.

Pipeline
PN-032 & PN-056 for ABO-incompatible transplantation

 

PN-032 & PN-056 are developed for the selective in vivo depletion of isoagglutinin antibodies (anti-A and anti-B blood group antibodies). The A and B antigens are carbohydrate structures which are present on hematopoietic cells, endothelia, and many other tissues. The antibodies against these carbohydrate antigens present a key hurdle for organ and stem cell transplantations with ABO-blood group incompatibility. The ABO hurdle can be overcome by depletion of isoagglutinin antibodies which is nowadays achieved with multiple extracorporeal plasmapheresis or immunoadsorption cycles. These treatments are very cumbersome and time-consuming for the patients. In some cases, immunosuppressive treatment is used to suppress the production of isoagglutinin antibodies. Our compounds PN-032 & PN-056 can be conveniently administered as injectables. These compounds selectively bind and remove the isoagglutinin antibodies and furthermore potentially induce a down-regulation of isoagglutinin production, which would provide an additional benefit for the patients and potentially promote the survival of the transplant.

Company

Company
Executive Team

  • Ruben Herrendorff

    Dr. Ruben Herrendorff CEO

    Ruben is a co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Polyneuron. His drug discovery expertise, including chemical synthesis, assay development, compound screening, profiling and in vivo pharmacology led him to co-develop the anti-MAG neuropathy drug candidate PN-1007. He is an expert in the underlying core technology Antibody-Catch™. Ruben holds an M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Basel.

  • Pascal Hänggi

    Dr. Pascal Hänggi CSO

    Pascal is a co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Polyneuron. Since the company’s foundation, Pascal has been instrumental in delivering on key company milestones in preclinical drug development, the management of contract research activities, and the interaction with health authorities. He holds a M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Basel and completed his Ph.D. at the University of Zürich in Molecular Medicine.

  • Michael Wacker

    Dr. Michael Wacker CBO

    Michael joined Polyneuron in January 2018 as Chief Business Officer. He brings to Polyneuron more than fifteen years’ experience in the life science industry. Previously, he was founder, board member and CSO of GlycoVaxyn, a vaccine development company that was acquired by GSK in 2015 and which valued the company at $212 million. Michael co-founded GlycoVaxyn in 2004 as a Spin-off company from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ). Michael holds a M.Sc. in biochemistry and completed his Ph.D. and post-doctoral fellowship in microbiology at ETHZ. He is co-founder and member of the board of directors of Limmatech Biologics, Inura Medical and chairman of the board of Inositec. He is the author of several publications in international scientific journals, including Science and PNAS, as well as inventor of various patent applications.

Company
Board of Directors

  • Gerhard Müller

    Dr. Gerhard Müller Chairman

    Dr. Gerhard Müller (Chairman) joined Polyneuron's board in February 2018. He has successfully managed research units and led drug discovery projects within the pharmaceutical, the CRO, and the biotech industry. Currently he serves as the Chief Scientific Officer at the New York-based biotech company Gotham Therapeutics. Gerhard has also successfully established the medicinal chemistry business unit at Mercachem, a Dutch Chemistry CRO. Prior to that, he held CSO and Vice President positions at Proteros Fragments, GPC Biotech, and Axxima Pharmaceuticals. Gerhard began his industry career at GlaxoSmithKline plc in Verona, followed by project management positions at Bayer AG in Leverkusen, and was head of medicinal chemistry at Organon in the Netherlands. He holds a PhD in organic chemistry obtained from the Technical University of Munich, where he discovered anti-adhesive integrin antagonists under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Horst Kessler.

  • Prof. Beat Ernst

    Prof. Beat Ernst Board member

    Prof. Ernst is a co-founder of Polyneuron and member of the board. He was Head of the Institute of Molecular Pharmacy at the University of Basel for many years. He is a renowned expert in the synthesis and pharmacological evaluation of carbohydrate-based drugs. Prof. Ernst has an extensive track record in drug discovery. Rivipansel (GMI-1070), a compound invented by Prof. Ernst in collaboration with GlycoMimetics, has demonstrated clinical proof-of-concept as a treatment for vaso-occlusive crises in patients with sickle cell anemia. Rivipansel was licensed by GlycoMimetics to Pfizer and entered Phase 3 under FDA Special Protocol Assessment in June, 2015. Furthermore, Prof. Ernst was substantially involved in development of Polyneuron's Antibody-Catch™ technology and its main asset PN-1007.

  • Werner Enz

    Dr. med. Werner Enz Board member

    Dr. med. Werner M. Enz is Chief Executive Officer of ErfindungsVerwertung AG (EVA), the Basel Life Science start-up agency, and CEO of the Basel Inkubator. He holds a Doctorate in Medicine from the University of Bern, Switzerland, and an MBA with specialization in strategy from Edinburgh Business School, Scotland, UK. During his career, Dr. Enz worked for several innovative startups and mid-sized B2B technology companies in life science, leading late stage clinical and business development as well as commercial operations, including as country manager and CEO. He also held various senior executive positions with Roche in Basel, Canada and Germany, including running Roche’s largest business unit in oncology, immunology and transplant medicine. After a merger project with Rhône Poulenc Rorer (today Sanofi) in Sweden, he worked for Abbott International as Commercial Director Europe in the USA and Divisional Head Hospital business in Switzerland.

Company
Scientific Advisory Board

  • Prof. Beat Ernst

    Prof. Beat Ernst Board member

    Prof. Ernst is a co-founder of Polyneuron and member of the board. He was Head of the Institute of Molecular Pharmacy at the University of Basel for many years. He is a renowned expert in the synthesis and pharmacological evaluation of carbohydrate-based drugs. Prof. Ernst has an extensive track record in drug discovery. Rivipansel (GMI-1070), a compound invented by Prof. Ernst in collaboration with GlycoMimetics, has demonstrated clinical proof-of-concept as a treatment for vaso-occlusive crises in patients with sickle cell anemia. Rivipansel was licensed by GlycoMimetics to Pfizer and entered Phase 3 under FDA Special Protocol Assessment in June, 2015. Furthermore, Prof. Ernst was substantially involved in development of Polyneuron's Antibody-Catch™ technology and its main asset PN-1007.

  • Prof. Andreas J. Steck

    Prof. Dr. med. Andreas J. Steck Medical

    Prof. Steck is a co-founder of Polyneuron. Previously, he was head of the Neurology Clinic of the University Hospital Basel from 1993 to 2007. He is a highly respected medical expert in the field of neurological diseases, in particular in the area of immune-mediated neuropathies. He also held various prestigious positions such as President of the Swiss Neurological Society and President of the European Neurological Society. With his neurology know-how and valuable clinical network Prof. Steck supports Polyneuron particularly with respect to the clinical development of PN-1007.


 

Company
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Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG
Hochbergerstrasse 60C – 4057 Basel

Contact

Polyneuron Pharmaceuticals AG
Hochbergerstrasse 60C
4057 Basel, Switzerland
eMail: info@polyneuron.com