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Foundation Venture Capital Group Invests in Start-Up Company Developing Blood Test to Determine Risk and Diagnose Alzheimer's Disease
Date:5/14/2010

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., May 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- As many as 5.3 million Americans, and 35 million people worldwide, are living with Alzheimer's disease (AD), a devastating neurodegenerative illness characterized by memory loss, cognitive decline and widespread destruction of neurons in the brain.  Today, there is no definitive diagnosis for the disease, and no treatment to cure it.

AD is the most common form of dementia and, with our aging population, the number of people who will develop the disease is expected to increase dramatically in the future.  

With Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC's, latest investment, James M. Golubieski, president, is hoping to help to lower those numbers dramatically.  That's why the company has made an initial investment of $175,000, which can go up to $500,000 pending completion of certain milestones, to Durin Technologies, Inc., a start-up company developing a test that requires only a drop of blood to diagnose the disease.

"My research centers on the fact that autoantibodies are involved in the degenerative mechanism of AD," explained Robert Nagele, PhD, founder of Durin Technologies and a researcher at the Institute for Successful Aging at the UMDNJ-School of Osteopathic Medicine in Stratford, NJ.

Dr. Nagele noted that the concept is gaining support in the scientific community and a number of pharmaceutical companies are seriously looking into it to help diagnose, and later treat, AD.

"We are hopeful that Dr. Nagele's research will help to fill an unmet need in the diagnostic and pharmaceutical industries," explained George F. Heinrich, M.D., vice chair and CEO of Foundation Venture Capital Group.  "His success could help ease the suffering of millions of people worldwide as they struggle with this devastating disease."

Dr. Nagele explained that brain-reactive autoantibodies and amyloid beta peptides are abundant in the blood but are unable to cross the blood brain barrier in healthy individuals.  His research now shows that these autoantibodies and peptides can readily penetrate through defects in the barrier that result from degenerative conditions common to vascular systems of older individuals.  

"We found that once these autoantibodies and peptides leak into brain tissue, they selectively bind to neurons in the brain that are most affected by Alzheimer's - cells that are critical to memory and higher thinking," he said. "Our hope is that these results will spark development of new therapies aimed at lowering blood levels of these peptides which could slow progression or circumvent this devastating illness."

Foundation Venture Capital Group, an affiliate of New Jersey Health Foundation, was founded in 2006 to invest only in commercially viable new start-up companies developing technology at UMDNJ. Since that time it has invested in four other UMDNJ companies including Actinobac Biomed Inc., developing a therapeutic agent targeting blood cells for the treatment of hematological malignancies; CellXplore, Inc., engaged in the development of biomarker-based in vitro diagnostic assays for cancer; Longevica Pharmaceuticals, Inc. developing a chemoprotective agent that may keep normal cells healthy during cancer treatments; and Snowdon Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery company focused on several major therapeutic areas.

For more information, contact James Golubieski, president of Foundation Venture Capital Group, at

(908) 731-6601 or at jgolubieski@njhf.org.


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SOURCE Foundation Venture Capital Group, LLC
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