York’s Aptamer Group in Alzheimer’s test partnership

Shares of York-based life sciences firm Aptamer Group plc rose about 11% after it announced the second phase of its ongoing partnership with Neuro-Bio, an Oxfordshire-based biotechnology company with a therapeutic focus on neurodegenerative disease.

The partnership is developing Optimer binders for a lateral flow test for the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

Aptamer Group shares are down about 98% for the past 12 months.

This latest phase involves development of an additional Optimer binder against the innovative Neuro-Bio target implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, with the goal of developing reagents for a lateral flow test for early disease detection,” said Aptamer.

“Following the earlier identification of Optimer binders to this novel Alzheimer’s disease biomarker, these binders have been characterised for use in lateral flow and biosensor assays.

Common lateral flow test formats require a pair of binders to increase diagnostic test accuracy.

“To prevent the need for animal-derived antibodies in its Alzheimer’s disease diagnostic, Neuro-Bio now requires the development of additional binders to support the lateral flow test format and deliver a wholly Optimer-powered test.

“As Optimer binders are oligonucleotide-based, rather than protein-based like antibodies, they offer further advantages including scalability of manufacture, improved shelf-life and tuneability benefits that will allow more stable and specific reagents for use in lateral flow tests.”

Aptamer Group chair Steve Hull said: “We are very pleased to continue our exciting relationship with Neuro-Bio to deliver the specific Optimer binders needed to enable this revolutionary diagnostic for this devastating disease.

“It is great to work with such enthusiastic partners that understand our Optimer technology’s benefits and are actively seeking solutions to overcome the industry’s problems with antibodies.”

Neuro-Bio CEO Susan Greenfield said: “At Neuro-Bio we’re thrilled at entering this next phase of development with Aptamer Group: the first phase proved productive and very promising.

“Now, this next stage takes us closer to realising a highly novel and much needed technology for detecting neurodegenerative diseases at a very early stage.”