Meningeal Lymphatics Research Program

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Meningeal Lymphatics Research Program

A platform that aims to correct lymphatic dysfunction in the brain to potentially improve outcomes for a range of neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory conditions that are not currently effectively treated, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Phase completedPhase in progressRegistration-enabling studies to begin in 1H2022
Harnessing meningeal lymphatics to potentially treat a range of neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory conditions 

The lymphatic system is an important part of the immune system, gastrointestinal (GI) system and central nervous system, or CNS. Loss of lymphatic flow can play a critical role in diseases of these systems. The recent discovery of meningeal lymphatics in the brain, an area once thought to have immune privilege, has shed new light on neurodegenerative diseases and lymphatic vessel aging.

  • Key Points of Innovation & Differentiation
    • Among the macromolecules that are drained via the lymphatics are pathogenic macromolecules such as amyloid-beta (Aβ) and tau, which are both associated with Alzheimer’s disease, or AD, pathology, as well as alpha-synuclein, which is associated with Parkinson’s disease. Blocking the lymphatic flow increases levels of these molecules in the brain. In animal models of AD, AD-associated tauopathies and Parkinson’s disease, blockage of meningeal lymphatic flow significantly exacerbated disease progression and severity whereas improving flow through aged meningeal lymphatics improved cognitive function in these animal models. With aging, the lymphatic vessels that drain the brain become dysfunctional and no longer drain as efficiently. The “lymphedematous characteristics” of meningeal lymphatic vessels in aged animals might be leading to inefficient clearance of pathologic macromolecules and potentially increased risk for neurodegenerative diseases. Therefore, restoration of lymphatic flow may be a novel class of therapies for neurodegeneration associated with poor lymphatic drainage.


  • Program Discovery Process by the PureTech Team
    • One of our academic collaborators discovered a functional lymphatic system in the meninges of the brain that forms the basis of our meningeal lymphatics research program. These meningeal lymphatics have been described as the “brain drain,” a route through which macromolecules are flushed from the brain in cerebrospinal fluid. We believe that augmenting meningeal lymphatic vasculature function may potentially improve outcomes for a range of neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory conditions that are not currently effectively treated.


  • Milestones Achieved & Development Status
    • In April 2021, we announced the publication of preclinical research in Nature, suggesting that restoring lymphatic flow in the brain, either alone or in combination with passive immunotherapies such as antibodies directed at amyloid-beta, has the potential to address a range of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, which potentially impairs the efficacy of passive immunotherapies such as amyloid-beta-targeting antibodies. The work also uncovered a link between dysfunctional meningeal lymphatics and damaging microglia activation in Alzheimer’s disease, suggesting another route by which restoring healthy drainage patterns could improve clinical outcomes.
  • Intellectual Property
    • We have broad intellectual property coverage around our meningeal lymphatics discovery research program, which includes exclusively licensed patent applications covering compositions of matter, methods of use and methods of treatment encompassing its platform-based brain lymphatic technologies, including the identification of macromolecular targets, as well as various classes of brain lymphatic targeting therapeutics for use in the treatment of a wide range of neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory conditions, as well as various neuropathies and cancers.
    • As of December 31, 2021, our meningeal lymphatics discovery research program patent portfolio consists of four patent families comprising six patent applications in U.S. and foreign countries, and two international PCT applications exclusively licensed from the University of Virginia Licensing & Ventures Group. Any patents to issue from the in-licensed patent applications are expected to expire in 2037 through 2041, exclusive of possible patent term adjustments or extensions or other forms of exclusivity.