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ALS Therapy Development Institute and Aestus Therapeutics, Inc., Expand Collaboration on Development of Novel ALS Therapies
Date:9/19/2011

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Sept. 19, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) and Aestus Therapeutics, Inc., announced today the expansion of their current research collaboration agreement to test additional small-molecule compounds for the ability to slow or stop the progression of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease).  The expanded scope of this collaboration is based on encouraging results from early-stage animal studies conducted in the past year under the existing collaboration.

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"This collaboration is an important example of how our Institute, built by the ALS community -, is dedicated to speeding the development of new therapies and has become the leader in preclinical validation of potential treatments for ALS.  We are encouraged by these early results and look forward to expanding our partnership with Aestus on behalf of patients today," says Steve Perrin, Ph.D., president and CEO of ALS TDI.

The original research collaboration was established between ALS TDI and Aestus in March 2010 to test a compound identified by Aestus's proprietary gene-based drug discovery platform in an animal model of ALS. Results obtained by ALS TDI using their rigorous pre-clinical drug testing process were encouraging and warranted expansion of the collaboration to test compounds with a similar mode of action.  

"We at Aestus are delighted to expand our research collaboration with ALS TDI to identify novel therapeutics for this devastating disease," says Tage Honore, Ph.D. D.Sc., CEO and founder of Aestus.  "The expansion of our research agreement with ALS TDI is based on a truly collaborative approach involving scientists at both institutions. We are particularly gratified that the encouraging results from experiments at ALS TDI have helped to further validate the Aestus approach to drug discovery."

ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes muscle weakness, disability and eventually death. An estimated 30,000 people are living with ALS in the United States and approximately 450,000 worldwide. There are currently no effective treatments that significantly alter the disease's relentless nature.  Tragically, the average person survives only 3-5 years following a diagnosis with ALS. In addition to the current lack of effective treatments for ALS, there is little known about what causes the disease in the vast majority of cases not directly caused by known inherited, genetic mutations.

About ALS TDI
The mission of the ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) is to develop effective therapeutics that slow or stop amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease), as soon as possible. Focused on meeting this urgent unmet medical need, ALS TDI executes a robust discovery program, while running the world's largest efforts to preclinically validate potential therapeutics; including small molecules, protein biologics, gene therapies and cell-based constructs. The world's first nonprofit biotech, ALS TDI has developed an industrial-scale platform that allows for the development and testing of dozens of potential therapeutics each year. Built by and for patients, the Institute is the world's only nonprofit biotechnology company with more than 30 professional scientists. In addition, the Cambridge, Massachusetts based research Institute collaborates with leaders in both academia and industry to accelerate ALS therapeutic development. For more information, please visit us online at www.als.net.

About Aestus Therapeutics, Inc.
Aestus Therapeutics Inc. is a translational medicine company focused on serious neurological diseases. Capitalizing on genomic data analysis to discover novel links between these diseases and well-studied biological pathways, Aestus identifies drug candidates already in clinical Phase I or later. By developing these drugs in novel disease areas such as chronic pain, ALS and schizophrenia, Aestus greatly reduces the time, cost and risk needed to deliver better and safer medicines for the benefit of patients and society. www.aestustherapeutics.com

Media Contacts:
Robert A. Goldstein, ALS Therapy Development Institute, 617-441-7295, rgoldstein@als.net
Lisa McCormick, Aestus Therapeutics, 609-865-4014, lmccormick@aestustherapeutics.com


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SOURCE ALS Therapy Development Foundation
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