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Toxic Neuro Protein Clearance Company Formed

Nerve cells in brain31 Dec. 2018. A new enterprise is being formed to develop a device that clears from the nervous system toxic proteins associated with chronic and debilitating neurological disorders. EnClear Therapies in Cambridge, Massachusetts is spun off from the biotechnology company QurAlis Corp., also in Cambridge.

EnClear Therapies is developing a system that detects and removes proteins from mutations associated with neurological diseases including amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, and frontotemporal dementia. ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder where neurons or nerve cells controlling muscles in the body begin to waste away, and can no longer send or receive signals from the brain or spinal cord. As the nerve cells stop functioning, the muscles in the limbs, and later speech and breathing muscles, begin weakening and eventually stop functioning. Most people with the disease die of respiratory failure. There are currently no cures for ALS, and few effective treatments for slowing progression of the disease.

Frontotemporal degeneration, or FTD, a progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. FTD is marked by a gradual decline in behavior or language, similar to dementia, but usually not affecting memory. People with FTD often find it difficult to plan or organize activities, engage in social interactions, behave appropriately in professional situations, or care for oneself. Like ALS, there are no effective treatments for this disorder.

The EnClear technology aims to clear toxic proteins from cerebrospinal fluid, or CSF, in the brain and spinal cord. Toxic proteins targeted by the device result from mutations in the C9orf72 gene, short for chromosome 9 open reading frame 72. Healthy C9orf72 genes produce proteins found in motor neurons, as well as the brain and spinal cord, associated with sending and receiving signals from other nerve cells. Mutations in this gene are linked to ALS, particularly accumulations of proteins that impair normal cell functions and promote the death of nerve cells. Many people with ALS found with these toxic proteins also develop FTD. And EnClear indicates another neurological disorder, progressive supranuclear palsy, with symptoms similar to FTD, may be treatable with its technology.

EnClear Therapies is a spin-off enterprise from QurAlis Corp., a company developing precision treatments for ALS based on the patient’s stem cells. Kasper Roet, CEO of QurAlis and one of EnClear’s founders says in a company statement that their discovery process revealed the presence and toxicity of these proteins that spread throughout the central nervous system, causing the death of neurons. “When looking for ways to clear these toxic proteins from the circulation,” notes Roet, “we decided to create a device that would continuously circulate the CSF, filtering out the toxic proteins. This device is the basis for the formation of EnClear and will hopefully be able to help not only ALS patients but also patients with many other neurological diseases.”

EnClear Therapies representatives plan to tell more about their technology on 9 January at the Biotech Showcase 2019 conference in San Francisco. Financial and intellectual property links between QurAlis Corp. and EnClear were not disclosed.

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