Cognition Therapeutics in the South Side received a patent this month for several promising drug molecule candidates that may one day halt the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease.

While the drug remains a work in progress, the company believes it is one step closer to nominating an oral drug for the FDA and clinical trial process, says Hank Safferstein, CEO. That process may begin as early as later this year.

“What we’ve discovered is a small molecule drug that blocks the binding and signaling of the beta protein,” explains Safferstein. “No other company we know of has small drug candidate molecules that work the way ours do.”

Cognition Therapeutic has been working in Pittsburgh since 2007 on the development of oral drug therapies. The drugs are designed to target the toxic proteins that cause the cognitive decline associated with life-crippling disease.

In 2011, Cognition discovered that one of its compounds was working in a completely new way, a major breakthrough that gave the company a novel target and novel pathway, which is what many in the industry had been seeking.

The company spent the next 18 months optimizing the discovered molecules. The patent asserts that these promising molecules, part of the company’s library, are both novel and patentable in the search for a cure of Alzheimer’s Disease, Safferstein says.

While certain drugs may improve or stall the symptoms of the disease for a time, there are currently no drugs on the market to prevent the toxic accumulation of proteins or block their destructive effects.

Cognition Therapeutics has raised $13 million to date and is in the process of raising a Series B to fund the clinical trial process. Investors to date include PLSG, Innovation Works, several Pittsburgh families and angel investors.

Deb Smit

Deb is an award-winning journalist who loves ancient places and cool technologies. A former daily newspaper reporter and Time-Life Books editor, she writes mostly about Pittsburgh. Her stories have appeared...