Google's Calico pens development deal for Parkinson's, ALS-fighting compound
- On Thursday, Google's life sciences division Calico announced that it has signed a development deal with the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center to help develop the center's investigational P7C3 compounds.
- P7C3 compounds are a class of neuroprotective chemicals that have been shown to effectively guard against neurodegeneration in animals. A pair of new studies published Thursday in the journals Cell and Cell Reports finds that these compounds also activate a crucial cellular enzyme (NAMPT, or nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase) and shielded rats against brain damage after traumatic head injuries.
- UT Southwestern's development deal was originally with 2M. Now, Calico will responsible for funding new research facilities in Dallas and broader efforts to develop the compounds. The company will also be tasked with commercializing the products once they reach late-stage development.
After striking its first major deal -- a general, $1.5 billion R&D pact with U.S. pharma giant AbbVie to fight age-related diseases -- last week, Calico has finally revealed one of the first tangible product lines that it's targeting. P7C3 compounds have demonstrated the potential to fight age-related and neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson's, ALS, and depression in animal studies, on top of protecting against brain damage from trauma and strokes.
"Over the past decade Andrew Pieper, Joe Ready, and I have worked collaboratively to discover, characterize, and optimize the P7C3 class of neuroprotective chemicals," said Dr. Steven McKnight, chairman of Biochemistry at UT Southwestern. "We are excited to join forces with Art Levinson, whom I have known and admired for over 25 years, and the Calico team to advance our scientific discoveries toward clinical and commercial objectives."