Development of Glycosylated Derivatives of the Neuropeptide PACAP for the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Disease and Migraine

Technology #ua16-144

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Robin Polt
Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Michael Heien
Associate Professor, Chemistry & Biochemistry
Managed By
Laura Silva

Title: Glycopeptides Analogues for Treatment of Neurological Diseases


Invention: Inventors at the University of Arizona have developed glycosylated forms of Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase Activating Peptides (PACAPs), a family of neuroprotective agents, that are better able to cross the blood-brain barrier. These modified peptides may be useful for the treatment of certain diseases of the nervous system, including migraines and Parkinson’s disease.


Background: Neurotrophic factors are a family of proteins that are responsible for the growth and survival of neurons, and are thought to play a prominent role in preventing the degeneration of neurons from diseases like Parkinson’s Disease, a neurological disorder that affects over 2% of the population over age 65. Compounds in one such family, known as PACAPs, are agonists for the PAC receptor, which is thought to be neuroprotective. Inventors at the University of Arizona generated derivatives of PACAPs that were shown to be much more effective at crossing the blood-brain barrier than their unmodified versions.



  • Treatment of Parkinson’s disease, migraines, and other neurological diseases



  • Potential for treatment of diseases that have a similar mechanism of action as Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s, and amyotrophic lateral schlerosis (ALS)
  • Potential to develop glycosylated antagonists to these compounds that prevent activation of PAC1 receptors, thereby preventing or treating migraines
  • Increased effectiveness in crossing the blood-brain barrier.
  • Possesses high yield and purity, even at small scales
  • Targets neurodegeneration, the underlying issue associated with Parkinson’s disease
  • By treating the causes of the disease rather than the symptoms, it may be possible to slow, halt, or altogether prevent the progression of the disease


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Laura Silva

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