Bio Aurum, saffron against neurodegenerative disorders
Bio Aurum’s vision is to become a key player in a unique niche of the booming nutraceuticals sector through its focus on products derived from saffron that is selected according to specific chemical profile criteria. Saffron has a long history of use in traditional medicine due to its therapeutic properties. Its role as a neuroprotective agent and its molecular mechanism of action in this capacity, however, have only recently been scientifically explored, and fundamentally elucidated by Bio Aurum’s research network.
The Bio Aurum team has more than a decade of basic and translational research experience in its initial target field of neurodegenerative retinal diseases and has been able to exploit the fruits of its research by defining scientifically both the chemical profile of active saffron (called“ saffron repron”) and its mechanisms of action. Saffron “repron” treatment has been proven to be effective in age related macular degeneration (AMD) and, more recently, in Stargardt disease, which is a juvenile form of macular degeneration caused by a genetic mutation.
Bio Aurum’s pipeline currently targets a variety of neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. While the underlying pathology of the two diseases are different, they are both characterized by chronic progressive loss of neurons and their synaptic connections, processes typical to neurodegenerative diseases that lead to gradual functional decline. While many factors are involved in disease development and progression, aging and neuro-inflammation play pivotal roles, and saffron treatment confers protection against both. While the chemistry of its components suggests a strong antioxidant activity, saffron acts more broadly, modulating the activity of many genes and ultimately slowing down the progression of neurodegeneration by blocking the activation of negative events, including neuroinflammation. In addition, although saffron manifests a rather stable genetic constitution, its neuroprotective efficacy strongly depends on specific ratios of crocins, which have been scientifically validated and patented. The saffron with the potent chemical profile has been called “repron.” Saffron treatment might induce “acquired resilience” and counteract dismetabolic negative events.
Bio Aurum’s has a market-ready product for the treatment of retinal neurodegenerative diseases, and a product in its pipeline to be tested on humans with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurodegenerative diseases. All pipeline products are based on proprietary technology, exploiting fully characterized, naturally occurring bioactive molecules that target defined pathogenic pathways in degenerative diseases.
Unmet clinical need
The most common form of age related dementia is Alzheimer‘s disease, which causes progressive memory loss, diminished mental capacity, apathy and disorientation. At present, standard treatments to prevent the development or progression of Alzheimer‘s and to alleviate some of its symptoms generally show modest and transient efficacy.
Studies in recent decades have demonstrated the existence of a large number of potentially avoidable risk factors associated with the development of dementia., constituting potential targets for nutraceutical prevention strategies. In particular, the association between poor eating habits and cognitive performance is becoming increasingly evident. Compelling meta-analysis studies indicate that different dietary patterns and nutritional components (e.g. Mediterranean diet and elements with documented antioxidant activity) are associated with a significantly reduced risk of developing dementia, while current therapeutic strategies do very little to efficiently counteract advancing disease pathology. Bio Aurum’s nutraceutical approach, in contrast, supports critical physiological processes that might help significantly prevent or slow disease progression . Simply put, it is a modern approach to an ancient Mediterranean diet and allied folk wisdom. We now know that a correct diet protects us from degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s in the elderly, and scientific studies increasingly explain how.
Parkinson’s is the second most common neurodegnerative disease after Alzheimer’s. The most visible symptoms of this disease are slowness of movement, muscle rigidity and tremors at rest. There are also many, often debilitating, non motor symptoms, some of which may be present before motor problems become evident. Parkinson’s affects multiple areas of the nervous system in a variety of ways. Dopamine treatment and deep brain stimulation have been used to cope with motor symptoms, with varying degrees of efficacy across patients and often side effects.
Moreover, currently available treatments do not slow disease progression. While the mechanisms that drive disease progression remain unclear, what is clear is that more areas of the nervous system are impacted over time and that targeting neuronflammation is one possible way to cope with disease progression. In this respect, saffron is a promising candidate to inhibit the activation of events that are downstream of neuroinflammation and that drive of disease progression.
TARGET MARKET: Bio Aurum is targetting the following markets:
- The neuro-degenerative pathologies market: this market shows a TAM of 27.0b USD and projects a CAGR of 7.5% on average until 2023
Saffron is a very rich source of active molecules that are potentially synergistic with conventional synthetic pharmacology. Bio Aurum’s innovation is based on saffron “repron.”
Bio Aurum’s competitive advantage lies in having developed a potent, pure and 100% natural nutraceutical to the point where it can enter the healthcare market. The use of natural antioxidants is a biocompatible and cost-effective alternative to synthetic antioxidants and in fact confers several known beneficial properties.