June 12, 2006

Predix Pharmaceuticals, headquartered in Israel and Lexington, Mass., has launched Phase I clinical trials of a new drug, PRX-07034, for treating obesity and cognitive impairment associated with Alzheimer's disease or schizophrenia. The company expects results of the PRX-07034 trial by the end of the year.

PRX-07034, an oral pill, influences serotonin in the brain by acting on the human 5-HT6 receptor found mainly in the central nervous system. Preclinical trials have shown that the drug improved the cognitive functioning of brain damaged test animals. For the treatment of obesity, the drug is designed to create the sensation of being sated. Animal trials found that it reduced the quantities of food consumed by test animals, thereby leading to weight loss.

The company noted that there was no risk that the molecule would cause anorexia when used to treat cognitive impairment or obesity. "Healthy systems in the body have control mechanisms that would probably prevent these negative side effects," said Predix CSO Oren Becker.