De­nali un­veils new way of cross­ing blood brain bar­ri­er as the big neu­ro­science bet en­ters its clin­i­cal years

Five years ago, as much of phar­ma be­gan leav­ing neu­ro­science, three big-name sci­en­tists from Genen­tech and some A-list in­vestors, in­clud­ing ARCH and Flag­ship, made a $217 mil­lion bet that new ge­net­ic in­sights and a re­liance on bio­mark­ers could bring them suc­cess. They called it De­nali Ther­a­peu­tics.

Still, De­nali faced the prob­lem that neu­ro­science de­vel­op­ers have faced for decades: How do you get a large mol­e­cule across the blood-brain bar­ri­er, a nat­ur­al de­fense evolved pre­cise­ly to keep them out? En­zyme re­place­ment ther­a­py, for in­stance, would be a great can­di­date to treat sev­er­al neu­ro­log­i­cal dis­or­ders, but en­zymes can’t cross the bar­ri­er.

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