Founded in 2016, the company AcuraStem is led by an exceptional team of PhDs, professors, technology entrepreneurs, and successful drug company veterans utilizing the latest scientific breakthroughs to first address one of the most challenging, but tractable diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). AcuraStem was formed in order to create an innovative precision medicine platform, iNeuroRX™, which leverages patient stem cells combined with advanced machine learning technology to discover drugs for neurodegenerative diseases. The platform has already revealed a novel ALS target from Dr. Justin Ichida’s laboratory at University of Southern California (USC).
AcuraStem has secured a $3.7 million Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Fast-Track grant (#R44NS105156) by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to further research for the development of a small molecule therapeutic, “AS2015”, for treating patients with the genetic form of ALS and frontotemporal dementia (FTD) caused by expansion repeats in the gene C9ORF72.
The grant supports an integrated drug discovery approach by AcuraStem to leverage induced motor neuron cellular models developed by AcuraStem President and Co-Founder, Dr. Justin Ichida. AcuraStem’s innovative precision platform, iNeuroRx™, utilizes nerve cells derived from patient stem cells, combined with artificial intelligence, for predicting drug efficacy, and is designed to transform patient outcomes. The grant will help further develop their cutting edge iNeuroxRx™ platform, which will allow AcuraStem to partner with patients and their clinicians to evaluate disease progression and evaluate existing approved therapeutics to identify the best treatments to slow the progression of ALS.
History suggests that small molecule drug approval by the FDA is no easy challenge, so it is believed important by AcuraStem to leverage relevant human disease and toxicity models as early as possible during the preclinical drug discovery phases. Dr. Ichida’s human motor neuron assay is a mitigating factor for some of these obstacles that can hinder new therapeutic progression.