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AU403 Announcement

Updated: Mar 9, 2023

With a novel approach to treating Alzheimer’s disease, the Harrison College of Pharmacy’s Raj Amin has received an NIH grant from the Innovation Grants to Nurture Initial Translational Efforts (IGNITE) which is supported by the National Institutes of Health, or NIH, National institute of neurological and stroke awarding agency. The compound was designed and synthesized by Ian Steinke, a graduate student in the Department of Drug Discovery and Development, and collaborators who include Robert Arnold, Forrest Smith and Satyanarayana Pondugula, professor in the Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Pharmacology at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Auburn.

The compound, referred to as AU403IS, is an intellectual property made and designed at Auburn and the Harrison College of Pharmacy.

“I am very excited about the abilities the NIH gives to us to advance our studies and allow us to proceed with the advancement of our novel drug via the IGNITE program,” said Amin. “Our abilities to design and develop novel therapeutics at Auburn in the Department of Drug Discovery and Development will allow us to advance the field of drug discovery related to fighting Alzheimer’s disease.” The IGNITE program is highly competitive as only two applications were accepted this past year for small molecules investigation for neurological diseases.

AU403IS is a novel drug that activates the nuclear receptor Liver-X Receptor beta (LXR beta) and Peroxisomal proliferator activating receptor alpha, also referred to PPAR alpha.

The in silico design and development of AU403IS, meaning it was designed and developed by computer simulation and alters the cholesterol pattern in the brain for patients resulting in helping reduce pathology and inflammation associated with the progression of the disease. We hope this compound may help individuals with the APOe4 allele.

“Our drug candidate is unique because it has been designed in silico to activate the nuclear receptor LXR and PPAR,” said Amin. “This is a very exciting and promising field with lots of challenges and opportunities to explore, including considerable testing needed for evaluating the safety, efficacy and bioavailability this substance.”

With all the work to get AU403IS to this point in the process, Amin is thankful for the support and opportunities at Auburn and the Harrison College of Pharmacy to design and develop such a novel drug.

“We are fortunate in the Department of Drug Discovery and Development that personnel and equipment are available for the discovery, design and development of novel drugs for various diseases,” said Amin. “I sincerely appreciate the tremendous support from the department, the college, the dean’s office and Auburn University that allows us to compete at the highest level in the field of drug discovery.”


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