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Sunday, Jan 29, 2023

Augie’s Quest to Get ALS Treatment to Trial

In May, the nonprofit ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) made history as the first nonprofit to successfully get a drug to clinical trial, thanks in large part to the support of Augie’s Quest.

The drug, Tegoprubart, is the culmination of years of research and experimentation at ALS TDI.

Augie Nieto—the founder and retired chief executive of Life Fitness and the chairman of Augie’s Quest to Cure ALS and the ALS Therapy Development Institute—created a venture capital fund to raise substantial money to support the ongoing development of Tegoprubart, formerly known as AT1501.

Tegoprubart is an antibody therapeutic that blocks specific immune cell activation and protects nerves against the progression of ALS, as well as Alzheimer’s disease.

“I’m proud of the work being done at the Augie’s Quest Translational Research Center at ALS TDI to fund the discovery of new candidate drugs to slow, stop, or even reverse ALS disease progression,” Nieto said. “Our work is producing real results for people living with ALS today … proving that our model works.”

After its creation at ALS TDI, Tegoprubart was licensed to Anelixis Therapeutics, a for-profit biotech company which oversaw the completion of Phase 1 trials for the treatment in 2019.
The next year, Anelixis was acquired by Irvine-based Eledon Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: ELDN), a for-profit clinical-stage drug development company that at the time was called Novus Therapeutics.

Tegoprubart has been the cornerstone of Eledon’s efforts to develop the next generation of anti-CD40 ligand antibodies for patients in need of potentially life-saving treatment.

“I was diagnosed over 17 years ago and given only two to five years to live. My goal was to find a treatment in my lifetime and with the recent announcement from Eledon, Lynne and I have hope that we will be able to see that day,” Nieto added.

Over $194 million has been raised for ALS research at Augie’s Quest and ALS TDI.

—Kim Stemper

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