Alkahest is focusing on chronokines, fractions of blood plasma that change with age. By either increasing the positive fractions or decreasing the negative fractions, the company hopes to improve age related conditions and restore youthful function to multiple systems, including cognition, motor function, and neurogenesis.
To boost the positive chronokines that decrease with age, the company has developed highly selective proprietary fractions of human plasma delivered via intravenous infusion. The two lead candidates, GRF6019 and GRF6021, are in phase 2 trials for severe Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and postoperative recovery following hip and knee surgery. Results from a Phase 2a study of GRF6019 in mild to moderate Alzheimer’s were published in 2020, showing good safety & tolerability, and no cognitive decline and minimal functional decline over the 6 month study period.
For the negative chonokines which increase with age, Alkahest has developed inhibitors and devices to decrease their levels:
AKST4290 is an inhibitor of eotaxin by blocking its binding to CCR3, which impacts inflammation, immune cell recruitment, and neovascularization. It is in Phase 2 trials for treatment-naïve neovascular AMD and Parkinson’s disease. A phase 2a study in refractory neovascular AMD met its primary & secondary endpoints in 2019.
AKST1210 is a plasma filtration device to be used concurrently with kidney dialysis to remove the protein B2M, which may cause cognitive impairment in end stage renal disease patients. It is in Phase 2 trials at the moment.
In September 2020, it was announced that Grifols would acquire the remaining stock of Alkahest for $146 million.
Articles: Interview with Dr. Steven Braithwaite