​​Athira Pharma to continue open-label Alzheimer’s extension studies

The biopharma Athira Pharma (Nasdaq: ATHA) has lengthened the current open-label extension (OLEX) study for its Phase 3 LIFT-AD and Phase 2 ACT-AD trials of fosgonimeton (ATH-1017, NDX-1017), hepatocyte growth factor receptor agonist, focused on mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease.

The Bothell, Washington–based company made the decision based on feedback from its independent data and safety monitoring board.

ATHA shares fell about 3% to $8.89 in early afternoon trading.

Last October, the company’s former CEO, Leen Kawas, stepped down amidst research misconduct allegations, and Athira’s then-chief operating officer, Mark Litton, assumed the mantle of CEO.

In June 2021, the company announced they had put Kawas on leave. After the announcement, its stock dipped 39%.

In the recent news announcement, Athira said that participants in the LIFT-AD or ACT-AD studies could elect to join the open-label extension that provides up to …

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Urovant shares positive data at the annual meeting of the American Urological Association

Urovant Sciences (Irvine, California) is upbeat about the prospects of beta-3 adrenergic receptor agonist Gemtesa (vibegron) in treating overactive bladder (OAB). This week, the drug was featured in two presentations at the virtual American Urological Association (AUA) Annual Meeting.

Historically, the primary treatment for OAB involved a type of anticholinergics known as muscarinic receptor antagonists. 

In 2012, Astellas Pharma (TYO: 4503) won FDA approval for Myrbetriq (mirabegron), the first beta-3 adrenergic receptor agonist for OAB to hit the market. More recently, Urovant, a subsidiary of Sumitovant Biopharma Ltd., won FDA approval for Gemtesa (vibegron), another beta-3 adrenergic receptor agonist, which became commercially available in April. 

Anticholinergics used for OAB can have bothersome side effects such as dry mouth and constipation, said Dr. Cornelia Haag-Molkenteller, chief medical officer at Urovant. Such side effects lead many patients…

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What is needed to develop disease-modifying therapies for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s 

Photo by Edward Jenner from Pexels

Developing disease-modifying therapies for neurodegenerative diseases remains a pressing need.

The incidence of neurodegenerative disease is ramping up in the U.S. and elsewhere as much of the global population ages. One out of three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

Parkinson’s disease is also becoming more widespread. Between 2015 and 2040, the number of people with Parkinson’s could nearly triple, rising from 6.3 to 17.5 million.

But developing drugs that can slow or stop the progression of such diseases poses a significant challenge for drug developers. Eli Lilly’s donanemab, for instance, showed promise earlier this year in treating Alzheimer’s in a Phase 2 study summarized in NEJM.

Another Alheimer’s candidate, aducanumab from Biogen, has also shown promise, although late l…

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