Company created to progress experimental Alzheimer's disease therapy

King's College London, the Wellcome Trust and Advent Venture Partners have announced the formation of a new UK biotechnology company, CoCo Therapeutics Ltd, to progress the research of Professor Jonathan Corcoran into the development of new treatments for Alzheimer's disease.

The company builds on the success of research, funded through the Wellcome Trust's Seeding Drug Discovery initiative, investigating the role of the retinoic acid receptor RAR-alpha and molecules that act on it in Alzheimer's disease.

The Neuroscience Drug Discovery Unit at King's, led by Professor Corcoran, has been optimising compounds for treating central nervous system disorders since 2008. The group has previously shown that molecules that act on RAR-alpha can affect multiple parts of the Alzheimer's disease pathway and therefore have the potential to produce an effective therapy that would otherwise need several points of intervention from different drugs.

CoCo Therapeutics will now take the lead compound forward into late-stage preclinical studies and clinical trials, which is the next step towards assessing whether the approach has any therapeutic benefit in patients.

Funding to launch and progress CoCo Therapeutics has been provided by Advent Venture Partners, venture capital investors in market-leading technology and life sciences businesses. Dr Raj Parekh, General Partner at Advent, will be the founding chairman of the new company.

Professor Jonathan Corcoran, director of the Neuroscience Drug Discovery Unit at King's College London, said: "I am delighted to be working with Advent on this project. Our research has shown early promise in this area, and this partnership will enable us to progress the work further. This is an exciting step forward in the search for effective Alzheimer's disease treatments."

Alzheimer's disease is the most common cause of dementia, affecting around 5.3 million people in the USA, 417,000 people in the UK and many millions of others worldwide. It is estimated that this incidence will more than double by 2050 if current trends continue.