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AC Immune publishes data showing diagnostic activity of a-syn PET tracer in MSA

AC Immune has published data on its alpha-synuclein (a-syn) positron emission tomography (PET) tracer, ACI-12589, which showed the compound’s ability to identify patients with multiple system atrophy (MSA).

The data from the clinical trial was published in Nature Communications journal on 27 October.

MSA is a rare condition of the nervous system that causes gradual damage to nerve cells in the brain. It occurs due to misfolding and accumulation of the protein α-synuclein in oligodendrocytes, myelinating cells of the central nervous system.

The clinical trial enrolled a total of 42 participants, 23 of which had α-synuclein-related disorders. In addition, 11 participants had other neurodegenerative disorders while the remaining eight were controls.

The ACI-12589 tracer bound to regions known to be highly affected by α-synuclein pathology, cerebellar white matter and middle cerebellar peduncles, in MSA patients making them easier to identify. Although ACI-12589 binding statistically separates MSA patients from healthy controls and subjects with other neurodegenerative disorders, it showed limited binding in Parkinson’s disease, also an α-synuclein disorder.

“Accurately detecting a-syn in the living brains of patients is paramount, particularly in view of the challenges of diagnosing the serious diseases related to pathological a-synuclein aggregates,” said AC’s chief scientific officer Dr Marie Kosco-Vilbois in the press release.

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“We are encouraged by this first success in MSA and look forward to expanding the potential clinical applications of this tracer, and others emerging from the AC Immune platform.”

The ACI-12589 development program previously received $0.5m in funding from the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research in September 2022.

The diagnostic imaging market is expected to grow to be worth $45bn in 2030, as per the GlobalData market model.

Other diagnostic agents in AC’s portfolio that are currently in development include Tau PET Diagnostic PI-2620, which is currently being evaluated in a Phase III trial (NCT05641688). The agent was developed in partnership with Life Molecular Imaging.

The Switzerland-based company is also developing therapeutic drugs such as anti-amyloid beta (Abeta) active immunotherapy (vaccine)-candidate, ACI-24.060, for treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The drug received a fast track designation from the US Food and Drug Administration and is currently in Phase Ib/II trial (NCT05462106).

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