The Challenge

When free aldehydes become toxic:

A new way of thinking about disease.

Arising in general as a result of a large number of metabolic processes, free aldehydes are a naturally-occurring endogenous chemical species known to promote inflammation and other pathology. When there are high levels of free aldehydes, they become toxic — modifying proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and DNA — leading to cellular dysfunction, as well as NF-KB activation and other precursors of inflammation.

Because of the inherent toxicity of aldehydes, most, if not all, living organisms contain enzymes, called aldehyde dehydrogenases, that detoxify aldehydes.

A number of serious immune-mediated and inflammatory diseases manifest elevated free aldehyde levels, which overwhelm aldehyde dehydrogenase capacity. In human studies, high aldehyde load is associated with inflammation and other forms of disease, including increased rates of cognitive decline, cancer and cardiovascular disease.

In our view, the medical needs of the patients suffering from aldehyde-mediated diseases are not currently well addressed. Therefore, medications that could mitigate the effects of elevated aldehydes have broad therapeutic potential.

Major diseases are associated with aldehydes.

A variety of diseases, including most inflammatory diseases, are thought to be related, at least in part, to toxic free aldehydes. The list encompasses:

    autoimmune diseases

e.g. systemic lupus erythematosus

    inflammatory diseases

e.g. uveitis

    neurological disease

e.g. multiple sclerosis

    cardiovascular disease

e.g. atherosclerosis

    endocrinologic disease

e.g. diabetic nephropathy

Diseases we’re presently focused on:

Sjögren-Larsson Syndrome (SLS)

prevalence in US:
estimated to be 1,000

An orphan disease characterized by severe skin disease, retinal dysfunction, mental delay and spasticity.
[ learn more ]

Noninfectious anterior uveitis

annual flares in US:
approx 25,000

An inflammatory ocular disease characterized by pain, sensitivity to light, and impairment of vision.
[ learn more ]

Allergic Conjunctivitis

[ learn more ]