Composition for Treating Neurodegenerative Diseases

Summary of the technology

Resorcinol-based products for preventing and/or treating neuroinflammation and treating neurodegenerative diseases. The present invention refers to a composition of (poly)phenol metabolite-based compounds. With a unique mode-of-action not toxic for the cells, our invention targets neuroinflammation – a key driver for neurodegeneration.

NOVA University Lisbon


With increasing life expectancy, over time incidence of neurodegenerative diseases, nervous system dysfunction and other age-related syndromes has accelerated. Current therapies for neurodegenerative diseases only alleviate physical complications, being unable to act on mechanisms underlying neurodegeneration. The determinant role of misfolded protein aggregation, oxidative stress, DNA damage, uncontrolled signaling, have been seen as novel opportunities to stop or inhibit disease progression. However, currently, neuroinflammation is gaining insights as prominent therapeutic approach. Indeed, growing evidence has demonstrated neuroinflammation as a key process in the pathogenesis of major neurodegenerative diseases.

Neuroinflammation is controlled by microglial cells, the innate immune cells of the central nervous system (CNS), that are considered the “sentinels” of CNS. Under transient damage, microglial cells protect their surrounding microenvironment and maintain the normal functions of CNS, by playing immune resolving, anti-inflammatory functions and supporting cell renewal by secreting trophic factors. Vice versa, under intensive pathological acute or chronic activation, microglia cells become neurotoxic and secrete a plethora of pro-inflammatory cytokines, prostaglandins and reactive oxygen (ROS) and nitrogen (NOS) species, impairing thus neuronal activity, disturbing normal neurotransmitter function and irreversible leading to tissue loss.

Technology Overview

The present invention refers to a composition of (poly)phenol metabolite-based compounds. With a unique mode-of-action not toxic for the cells, our invention targets neuroinflammation – a key driver for neurodegeneration. Thus, our invention is applicable for preventing and/or treating neurodegenerative diseases, through radically different approach face to competitors.

Main features:

  1. The composition decreases, by approximately 50%, the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines mainly TNF-α, IL-6, IL-10, IL-1, IL-12, IL-18, IL23, CCL17, CCL22 and CXCL1, in microglial cells;
  2. The composition decrease of translocation of transcription factors mainly NF-kB, upon inflammatory insult, to control levels, in microglial cells;
  3. Decrease TLR4 expression by approximately half, after 6 hours of pre-incubation, in microglia cells;
  4. Increase of cell viability and ATP levels by approximately 30% in MPP+ exposed dopaminergic neurons.

Deriving from resorcinol, a broad portfolio of active compounds can be engineered into molecules highly active at low concentrations (lower toxicity/lower side-effects) and accessible to blood brain barrier (BBB). These capabilities dramatically increasing the diversity of potential targets, including but not limited to: Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s diseases, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis, brain cancer, epilepsy.

Further Details:

  • Figueira I, Garcia G, Pimpão RC, Terrasso AP, Costa I, Almeida AF, Tavares L, Pais TF, Pinto P, Ventura MR, Filipe A, McDougall GJ, Stewart D, Kim KS, Palmela I, Brites D, Brito MA, Brito C, Santos CN. Polyphenols journey through blood-brain barrier towards neuronal protection. Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 13;7(1):11456. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-11512-6. Erratum in: Sci Rep. 2021 Aug 18;11(1):17112. PMID: 28904352; PMCID: PMC5597593.


This resorcinol-based solution is effective at very low concentrations, which are identical to achievable circulating blood concentrations. Thus, the potential of their use as novel non-toxic pharma compounds to target inflammation-based pathologies is tremendous.


Resorcinol-based, small (poly)phenol metabolites has the capability to enter in circulation at what we proved to be effective concentrations for treating neuroinflammation. Importantly, these small molecules have also the ability to reach the brain. Thus, nutritional and/or pharmacological approaches to deliver these molecules can be developed aiming to:

  • Modulate neuroinflammation in the innate immune cells of the brain (microglial cells);
  • Increase cell viability in neuronal cells exposed to a Parkinson’s inducing toxin (MPP+).

The preventive profile by measuring different doses and time of incubation in microglial cells has already been characterized. Meanwhile the mechanisms by which these molecules can affect the release of inflammatory cytokines are being elucidated. Furthermore, this substance has been tested in a preventive manner in neuronal cells treated with Parkinson’s inducing toxin. The results showed the capability of the metabolites to increase neuronal cell viability, thus showing they are able to protect neurons from dying. The full mechanism behind this protection is under study. Overall, the gathered evidences show the potential of these small phenolic molecules to be used in a preventive manner for the deterrence of neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration and potentially be used in patients with these complications.

Current development status

Experimental technologies

Desired business relationship

Technology selling

Patent licensing

Technology development

New technology applications

Adaptation of technology to other markets

Intellectual property status

  • Patent already applied for
  • Patent application number :PCT/IB2023/051543
  • Patent already applied for
  • Patent application number :EP22166594.6

Related Keywords

  • Biological Sciences
  • Medicine, Human Health
  • Clinical Research, Trials
  • Pharmaceutical Products / Drugs
  • Genetic Engineering / Molecular Biology
  • Medical Health related
  • Therapeutic

About NOVA University Lisbon

Founded in 1973, NOVA University Lisbon encompasses nine schools that offer a wide variety of degrees in all areas of knowledge and constitute an incontestable cultural, artistic, academic, and technological resource. NOVA has a strong tradition of work in areas of innovation, with corresponding outcomes in the economy, services, and in extracurricular training, establishing important protocols with its peers, both nationally and internationally.

Innovation and Entrepreneurship are embedded in NOVA’s culture, being widely promoted within the University’s ecosystem as a way of fostering knowledge transfer and transforming research results into social and economic value, focuses particularly on promoting a knowledge-based and high-impact value creation activity, through collaborations with industry and society.

The NOVA Impact office contributes to the University’s societal benefit by working with academics, researchers and students to apply and maximize the impact of their expertise and research, to foster knowledge transfer and transform innovative results in social and economic value.

We support and develop initiatives that add social or economic value, based on the knowledge produced at NOVA, promoting a knowledge-based and high-impact value creation activity through collaborations with society and industry. We set up new programs to encourage entrepreneurship and new cross-cutting initiatives to strengthen collaboration with businesses.

We help NOVA innovators and entrepreneurs to develop their ideas for the benefit of society, the economy, themselves, and the University.

Typical activities and support include the IP protection, development and commercialization of ideas/technology, entrepreneurship training, new company or social enterprise creation, and liaising with industry or other organizations to partner up towards impact-driven projects and initiatives.

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