Brain Sciences


IoN professor awarded funding to support his research into Alzheimer’s disease

2 July 2021

Professor Paul Fish from UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology (IoN) has been granted an ADDF- Harrington Scholar Award, selected for his work aimed at restoring brain function.

Paul Fish

Professor Fish and his team at UCL’s Drug Discovery Institute have identified a drug candidate that aims to restore the health of the blood-brain barrier in patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

The blood-brain barrier controls what enters the brain, including glucose, which is essential for providing energy to the brain, and what exits the brain, which is important in the clearance of toxic waste products. Professor Fish has developed a lead molecule that works by inhibiting an enzyme in the brain called NOTUM, which operates aberrantly in some people with Alzheimer’s disease, and which is essential to the proper development and maintenance of the blood-brain barrier.

Professor Fish is one of two Principal Investigators to receive the award which is given by the Alzheimer’s Drug Discovery Foundation (ADDF) and Harrington Discovery Institute at University Hospitals in Cleveland.  

Professor Fish will receive funding and therapeutic development guidance from a team of industry experts to help advance his research towards therapies for patients. Pending successful achievement of developmental milestones, Professor Fish is eligible to receive up to $600,000 in financial support for his work.

Professor Fish said this award will have a big impact in ‘speeding up’ the research he is working on: “Having worked in drug discovery in a pharmaceutical setting, I am familiar with the significant investment and skills needed to translate our research into a clinical setting for patients. The funding from the ADDF combined with the guidance from a team of industry experts at the Harrington Discovery Institute will perfectly complement our UCL project team and collaborators.”

Andrew Pieper, Director, Neurotherapeutics Center, Harrington Discovery Institute, Morley Mather Chair in Neuropsychiatry at University Hospitals and Case Western Reserve University, said: “With Dr Fish, we welcome our first ADDF-Harrington Scholar in the UK. It is exciting to see the growing interest in our program and the high quality of submissions we continue to attract, now internationally.

“We are well-positioned to identify the most promising discoveries in academic medical centres and help advance them into new medicines for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.”