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Saniona AB: Saniona obtains research milestone from The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research


October 20, 2016

Saniona, a leading biotech company in the field of ion channels, today
announces that it has reached the first research milestone for identifying
new drug candidates for the treatment of Parkinson's disease, which is
supported by the The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research.
The achieved milestone releases a payment of USD 175,862 (about SEK 1.5

In February 2016, Saniona announced that The Michael J. Fox Foundation for
Parkinson's Research (MJFF) awarded Saniona a research grant of up to USD
590,700 (about SEK 5.2 million) to develop small-molecule modulators of
nicotine receptors belonging to a subtype named alpha-6 and evaluate the
feasibility of using these drug candidates for the treatment of Parkinson's

Saniona has until now received a total of USD 351,724 (about SEK 3.1 million)
under the grant from MJFF.

"It is well-documented that smokers are at lower risk of developing
Parkinson's. The reason is probably that nicotine activates and protects the
cells that degenerate in Parkinson's disease. But nicotine itself is not
useful as a medicine because it is far too unspecific and has severe and
obvious side effects. However, Saniona has identified subtype specific
nicotine compounds that might provide a symptomatic and protective effect
without the negative side effects of nicotine," says Jørgen Drejer, CEO of

The Saniona research team is the first to present small molecules that
specifically facilitate the function of nicotinic alpha-6 receptors, which
mediate dopamine signalling. Should the project be successful, the next steps
would be to accelerate this program towards lead optimization to identify a
therapeutic candidate to be advanced into pre-clinical development for the
possible initiation of Phase 1 clinical trials, which potentially could also
be funded by MJFF.

For more information, please contact

Thomas Feldthus, EVP and CFO, Saniona, Mobile: +45 2210 9957,

This information is information that Saniona (publ) is obliged to make public
pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for
publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above, at 08:00
CET on October 20, 2016.

About Saniona

Saniona is a research and development company focused on drugs for diseases of
the central nervous system, autoimmune diseases, metabolic diseases and
treatment of pain. The company has a significant portfolio of potential drug
candidates at pre-clinical and clinical stage. The research is focused on ion
channels, which makes up a unique protein class that enables and controls the
passage of charged ions across cell membranes. Saniona has ongoing
collaboration agreements with Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH, Upsher-Smith
Laboratories, Inc., Productos Medix, S.A de S.V and Saniona's Boston based
spinout Ataxion Inc., which is financed by Atlas Venture Inc. and Biogen Inc.
Saniona is based in Copenhagen, Denmark, where it has a research center of
high international standard. Saniona is listed at Nasdaq First North Premier
and has about 4,400 shareholders. Pareto Securities is Certified Advisor for
Saniona. The company's share is traded under the ticker SANION. Read more at

About Parkinson's disease

Parkinson's disease is a chronic and progressive neurological disorder that is
characterized by well-known motor symptoms including tremors, stiffness of
limbs, slowness of movements, and difficulties with posture and balance. In
addition to motor symptoms, many Parkinson's disease patients experience
non-motor symptoms, including sleep disorders, sensory symptoms, depression
and gastrointestinal symptoms.

It is the second most common neurological disorder and more than five million
people worldwide live with this disease. Parkinson's disease is more common
in people over 60 years of age, but the disease also afflicts people as young
as in their late 20s. In healthy people, the motor system is regulated by
nerve cells that communicate with each other using dopamine. In Parkinson's
disease, dopamine-producing cells in the brain degenerate, affecting the
entire central nervous system. This causes an impairment of communication
between the cells leading to the loss of control of movements. Current
Parkinson's treatments are only effective in managing symptoms of the
disease. As the disease progresses and dopaminergic neurons continue to be
lost, these drugs eventually become less effective at treating the symptoms.

About Nicotine alpha-6 modulators

Nicotinic alpha-6 receptors exhibit an extremely localized expression, mainly
confined to dopamine neurons. In these neurons, they are expressed on the
nerve endings innervating a brain region named striatum, where they are
important mediators of local regulation of dopamine signalling by the
signalling molecule acetylcholine. The Saniona research team is the first to
present selective allosteric modulators of nicotinic alpha-6 receptors and
has furthermore demonstrated that these modulators increase the receptor
sensitivity for acetylcholine. The identified nicotinic alpha-6 modulators
have the potential to strengthen acetylcholine-mediated dopamine release at
the nerve endings in striatum and thereby offer a novel approach to protect
and counteract degeneration of dopamine neurons in Parkinson's disease

About The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research

As the world's largest non-profit funder of Parkinson's research, The Michael
J. Fox Foundation is dedicated to accelerating a cure for Parkinson's disease
and improved therapies for those living with the condition today. The
Foundation pursues its goals through an aggressively funded, highly targeted
research program coupled with active global engagement of scientists,
Parkinson's patients, business leaders, clinical trial participants, donors
and volunteers. In addition to funding more than $525 million in research to
date, the Foundation has fundamentally altered the trajectory of progress
toward a cure. Operating at the hub of worldwide Parkinson's research, the
Foundation forges ground-breaking collaborations with industry leaders,
academic scientists and government research funders; increases the flow of
participants into Parkinson's disease clinical trials with its online tool,
Fox Trial Finder; promotes Parkinson's awareness through high-profile
advocacy, events and outreach; and coordinates the grassroots involvement of
thousands of Team Fox members around the world.

20161020 - PR - Saniona M J Fox milestone - UK


This announcement is distributed by Nasdaq Corporate Solutions on behalf of Nasdaq Corporate Solutions clients.
The issuer of this announcement warrants that they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.
Source: Saniona AB via Globenewswire

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