Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Compounds that Reduce Cellular Tau Levels

Technology #4846


Neurodegenerative disorders associated with the protein tau, which is abundantly expressed in neuronal cells, are referred to as tauopathies. The most common tauopathy is Alzheimer’s disease. In Alzheimer’s disease, two kinds of abnormal protein aggregates, plaques and tangles, are thought to be responsible for damaging and killing nerve cells. Tangles are created by excessive tau accumulation. Alzheimer’s disease is a major health concern in the United States. Of Americans aged 65 and over, 1 in 8 has Alzheimer’s, and nearly half of people aged 85 and older have the disease. Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States and the 5th leading cause of death for those aged 65 and older. There is no cure for Alzheimer’s and current treatment options are only palliative in nature.


Investigators at the University of Michigan have synthesized new chemical derivatives that have shown a remarkable degree of inhibitory action on tau protein production in neuroblastoma cells. In vitro experiments revealed a highly significant reduction of over 70%, which is potency comparable to some of the best known anti-tau compounds. This level of efficacy was observed at an extremely low dose with no cytotoxic effects. Further development of these derivatives could lead to an effective clinical therapeutic for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other tauopathies.

Applications and Advantages


  • New compound for the treatment of -nl-tau-associated diseases.


  • Extremely high efficacy at low doses.
  • Non-cytotoxic.