Israeli pharmaceutical start-up Alcobra Pharmaceuticals is listed on the NASDAQ electronic stock exchange under the ticker ADHD, the disease it treats with a non-stimulant compound that is expected to come to the market in 2015.
In an interview with Israeli business daily Globes, CEO Dr. Yaron Daniely explained how the company was originally created in 2008 to develop the molecule metadoxine to help inhibit the effects of alcohol on the brain.
“The goal was to create a pill that would quickly reduce blood alcohol levels, so that people would be able to drive safely,” explains Daniely. “It turned out the drug had no significant impact on removing alcohol from the blood, but it had a very significant impact on cognitive ability. In driving, memory, and attention tests that were conducted, it was as though those people were not drunk, despite the fact that, in terms of the amount of alcohol in their blood, it was not clear that they would be able to stand on their own two feet. So the idea to treat Attention Deficit Disorder came about.”
A pilot the company conducted in 2010 among 40 adults with ADHD showed “an immediate and significant improvement in attention tests. As a result of this, the company reinvented itself,” Daniely said, which is when he was named by researchers Dr. Dalia Megiddo and Udi Gilboa to be its new CEO.
Bilingual with a Ph.D. from the Sackler Institute of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at the New York University School of Medicine, an NIH Visiting Fellow in Cell Biology, a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Molecular Cell Biology at The Weizmann Institute for Science, in Rehovot, and an MBA from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, Daniely also was VP Business Development at Gamida Cell Ltd., managing its joint venture with Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.(NYSE: TEVA; TASE: TEVA) to develop a cancer drug.
The idea was to approach TEVA to fund the start-up, which it did with $5 million to fund its first tests. But with TEVA later in a management crisis, and its options to increase its position in Alcobra expired, the team sought an IPO on the NASDAQ, which has since net it some $60 million in proceeds and a market capitalization of $220 million, more than enough to fund its final tests and market launch.
Daniely said the chemical compound metadoxine has been approved for 40 years for the treatment of liver disease in third-world countries, including India, China, Russia, and Thailand. The company has registered a patent for the use of metadoxine for neurological conditions, through a timed-release of the substance, so its effect on the patient lasts a few hours.
Globes said that Alcobra has no labs, its raw materials are manufactured by a third party in Germany, and the pills themselves are manufactured in the US. The company believes that the drug combines the benefits of the two existing classes of ADHD drugs – the stimulants, such as Ritalin and Concerta, and the non-stimulant drugs, such as Strattera – and claims that …read more
Source: The Algemeiner