Life Biosciences moves to take stake in Prana

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Boston-based company Life Biosciences has moved to take a majority stake in Australian-based company Prana Biotechnology (ASX:PBT).

Prana lead candidate in development, PBT434, is the first of a new generation of small molecules designed to inhibit the aggregation of pathological proteins implicated in neurodegeneration.

PBT434 has been shown to reduce abnormal accumulation of α-synuclein and tau proteins in animal models of disease by restoring normal iron balance in the brain. It is considered to have the potential to treat various forms of atypical parkinsonism such as Multiple System Atrophy and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy. 

Life Biosciences is focused on developing medicines for the treatment is aging. Its business is modelled on setting up individual 'daughter' companies to conduct their research independently.

The company was founded by two Australians, CEO Tristan Edwards and Professor David Sinclair AO. Dr Sinclair, who is regarded as one of the world’s leading researchers on aging and age-associated diseases, is a tenured professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and co-Director of the Paul F Glenn Center for the Biology of Aging Research.

Under the terms of its proposal, Life Biosciences will acquire up to 63 per cent of Prana Biotechnology, Mr Edwards and Professor Sinclair will be appointed to the company's board, and it will change its name to Alterity Therapeutics.

The companies had previously announced an agreement to raise up to US$24.8 million (~A$34.9 million) before costs. 

In a statement to the ASX, Prana said an independent report prepared by FTI Consulting (Australia) in respect of the acquisition determined that it is 'not fair but is reasonable'. The acquisition will be considered at an extraordinary general meeting in early April.