6
Mar
2024

Early Detection, and Treatment, for Alzheimer’s: Valerie Daggett on The Long Run

Today’s guest on The Long Run is Valerie Daggett.

Valerie is the founder and CEO of Seattle-based AltPep.

Valerie Daggett, founder and CEO, AltPep

This company is working on an unusual diagnostic-and-therapeutic strategy against Alzheimer’s disease.

I wrote about the company in June 2023 when it raised $53 million in a Series B financing that included Section32, Alexandria Real Estate Equities, and Eli Lilly among others.

At the time, I wrote:

What if you could screen everyone at age 40, with a simple blood test, that could detect trace amounts of the toxic forms of amyloid-beta protein that build up over 10-20 years in people with Alzheimer’s?

What if the blood test had 99 percent sensitivity and specificity to the toxic forms of the protein structure, ignoring normal forms? What if you could go a step further after a positive early diagnosis, and give a treatment that binds the same way, but is optimized to clear out those misfolded proteins before they start bunching up into plaques that damage neurons to the point of no return?

This might sound like daydreaming in Alzheimer’s diagnosis and treatment, but Seattle-based AltPep is imagining such things and has secured $53 million in Series B financing to pursue its plan.

Valerie is a professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington. She has been on the faculty there for 30 years.

Her academic research has been building, and building over time, pointing toward this moment in which her team can make peptides that are so exquisitely able to distinguish toxic forms of amyloid-beta protein from the garden variety. They can also capture and remove those proteins.

In this conversation, Valerie describes how her research evolved in this direction, and why she decided to continue working on it in the business world to see if can fulfill its potential for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Now please join me and Valerie Daggett on The Long Run.

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