Boston-based biopharma company Yumanity Therapeutics announced last week that its drug candidate, YTX-7739, met its primary end points in a Phase 1b trial in patients with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease.
Recent discoveries about the role of lipids in the activity of alpha-synuclein have led to the development of a lipidopathy hypothesis and opened up a new avenue of research; targeting lipids represents a first-in-class mechanism of action in the treatment of Parkinson’s. YTX-7739 inhibits stearoyl-CoA desaturase (SCD), an enzyme involved in the production of fatty acids involved in various cellular processes. Inhibiting SCD appears to normalize the way alpha-synuclein interacts with cell membranes and prevent its accumulation.
In the Phase 1b trial, 20 adults with Parkinson’s were randomized to receive placebo or YTZ-7739 once daily for 28 days. YTX-7739 demonstrated a 20%-40% reduction in SCD activity, a level expected to be clinically relevant. Results from electroencephalograms suggest improved brain function in patients treated with YTX-7739, but there were no significant differences in clinical measures of Parkinson’s, a result Yumanity says is not surprising given the short trial duration.
Based on these positive results, Yumanity plans to advance YTX-7739 to Phase 2 testing in 2022.