Xanamem blocks the activity of 11β-HSD1, an enzyme that converts inactive cortisone into its active form, cortisol in the brain. Blocking the activity of the enzyme therefore reduces the amount of cortisol in the brain. The enzyme is present in high concentrations in the hippocampus and the frontal cortex, the parts of the brain most associated with recent memory and behaviour, and the regions of the brain most affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Xanamem was discovered by researchers at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and has been under development for over a decade. In late 2014, Actinogen Medical acquired the global rights to Xanamem, with the commitment to actively progress the clinical development of this very promising compound.