The Role of Biotechnology in Europe's Responsible Innovation - Addex


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Addex Pharmaceuticals is the first company devoted to industrialising discovery and development of allosteric modulators as drugs. Their main products are being developed for the treatment of schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease Alzheimer’s disease, endometriosis, diabetes and arthritis.

Addex was founded in 2002 in Geneva.

Addex Pharmaceuticals discovers and develops allosteric modulators for human health and is focused on validated therapeutic targets for diseases of the central nervous system, metabolic disorders and inflammation. Addex, which has established drug development partnerships with Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co., Inc. and received a grant from the Michael J. Fox Foundation, is the first company to focus on industrialising the process of finding and developing allosteric modulators. As a result, they hope to champion and accelerate the adoption of this new class of orally available small molecule drugs, which will offer patient’s better therapeutic solutions while, at the same time, reducing costs to payers.

Originally, when it was founded, Addex specialized largely in pharmaceuticals fighting addiction. While trying to work on a new drug to treat dependence, the Addex researchers discovered a process for producing drug-like allosteric modulators. They quickly recognized that this innovative kind of chemistry could address a key bottleneck in pharmaceutical drug discovery and become an emerging new class of drugs that could offer more patient friendly and cost effective drugs compared to protein and peptide therapeutics. Therefore, in 2003, the management adapted, regrouped and re-focused Addex on industrialising the allosteric modulator discovery and development process. The company now aims to address a wide variety of validated targets in a novel way. Addex Pharmaceuticals is currently pursuing drugs for the three core therapeutic areas of the central nervous system, inflammation and metabolic disorders.

Comment from the EuropaBio judging panel for the Most Innovative European SME on why Addex has been shortlisted for the award:

“Diseases of the central nervous system represent one of the most important areas of unmet medical need but present unique challenges for drug developers. One of the major problems is that the central nervous system is protected by a barrier which restricts or prevents large molecules from entering from the blood. Addex has pioneered small orally-administered molecules, known as allosteric modulators, which can enter the central nervous system and selectively bind to therapeutic targets addressing important therapeutic areas such as Parkinson ’s disease and schizophrenia. The company has demonstrated the potential of the technology by advancing to Phase II clinical testing and partnering with two major pharmaceutical companies, Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co., Inc. Based upon its proprietary technology Addex is seeking to address some of the most important diseases such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, type II diabetes, endometriosis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression and sleep disorders.”