Resveratrol Studies Suggest Broad Implications for SIRT1 Activation in Neurodegenerative Eye DisordersCAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jul 31, 2007 - Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: SIRT), a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing small molecule drugs to treat diseases of aging, announced today that activation of SIRT1, a member of the sirtuin family of enzymes, was shown to be neuroprotective in an animal model of optic neuritis. These findings appear in an article published in Volume 48, Number 8 of The Investigative Ophthalmology and Visual Science Journal (IOVS), Shindler et al., 2007 entitled "SIRT1 Activation Confers Neuroprotection in Experimental Optic Neuritis."
The progressive loss of neurons with age may underlie a variety of debilitating neurological disorders including optic neuritis, one of the first signs of multiple sclerosis, which has been associated with reduced mitochondrial function. Sirtuins are a recently discovered class of enzymes that appear to affect the aging process in mammals and increase the number and function of mitochondria.
According to the findings in this paper, resveratrol, a SIRT1 activator reduced the loss of retinal ganglion cells and preserved axonal function in a pre-clinical model of optic neuritis. A single intravitreal dose of SRT501, Sirtris' proprietary formulation of resveratrol, was sufficient for neuroprotection. Furthermore, this neuroprotective effect was shown to be SIRT1 dependent because it was blocked by sirtinol, a SIRT1 inhibitor.
The authors of the IOVS article include Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. Senior Vice President, Head of Development, Peter Elliott, Ph.D. and Sirtris Scientific Advisory Board member, Kenneth Shindler, M.D., F.M. Kirby Center for Molecular Ophthalmology, Department of Ophthalmology, University of Pennsylvania Scheie Eye Institute, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
"This work is significant because it shows that a SIRT1 activator is neuroprotective and thus has the potential to be therapeutic for a range of neurodegenerative diseases of aging," said Peter Elliott, Ph.D.
Christoph Westphal, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. added, "These new data support our belief in SIRT1 as a therapeutic target for a broad range of diseases of aging including metabolic, mitochondrial, and neurological disorders."
Online copies of the article can be obtained at: http://www.iovs.org
About Sirtris Pharmaceuticals
Sirtris Pharmaceuticals is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing proprietary, orally available, small molecule drugs with the potential to treat diseases associated with aging, including metabolic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes. Our drug candidates are designed to mimic certain beneficial health effects of calorie restriction, without requiring a change in eating habits, by activation of sirtuins, a recently discovered class of enzymes that control the aging process. The company's headquarters are in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements include, but are not limited to, the potential therapeutic effects of SIRT1 activators for multiple neurodegenerative diseases and other types of disorders, the progress and results of pre-clinical studies of SIRT1 activators, and the potential of sirtuin modulators to receive regulatory approval. These forward-looking statements about future expectations, plans and prospects of Sirtris Pharmaceuticals involve significant risks, uncertainties and assumptions, including risks related to the lack of results that would provide a basis for predicting whether any of the Company's product candidates will be safe or effective, or receive regulatory approval, the possibility that results of pre-clinical studies are not necessarily predictive of clinical trial results, the Company's potential inability to initiate and complete pre-clinical studies and clinical trials for its product candidates, the fact that none of the Company's product candidates has received regulatory approvals, the potential inability of the Company to gain market acceptance of the Company's product candidates, and those other risks factors that can be found in the Company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Actual results may differ materially from those Sirtris Pharmaceuticals contemplated by these forward-looking statements. Sirtris Pharmaceuticals does not undertake to update any of these forward-looking statements to reflect a change in its views or events or circumstances that occur after the date of this release.
Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Michelle Dipp, M.D., Ph.D., 617-252-6920
For Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
Sheryl Seapy, 949-608-0841
Posted: July 2007