AstraZeneca and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited announced that they have entered an agreement to jointly develop and commercialise MEDI1341, an alpha-synuclein antibody currently in development as a potential treatment for Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Alpha-synuclein (α-synuclein) is an aggregation-prone protein that contributes to the development of PD. This protein is the major constituent of Lewy bodies, which are pathological protein aggregates that accumulate in the nerve cells of patients with PD and appear to spread throughout the nervous system during the progression of the disease. These insights support the development of new PD medicines that seek to remove existing pathological alpha-synuclein aggregates, prevent their formation, or stop them from spreading. Such therapies could potentially prevent or delay the onset of PD, or halt or slow its progression.
MEDI1341 is an antibody that is differentiated by its high affinity, high selectivity and reduced effector function (lower interaction with the immune system), which has the potential to achieve a better efficacy and safety profile than other alpha-synuclein antibodies. MEDI1341 is due to enter Phase I clinical trials later this year.
Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, Innovative Medicines & Early Development Biotech Unit and Global Business Development at AstraZeneca, said: “Today there are no medicines that can slow or halt the degenerative progress of Parkinson’s disease so this remains a large area of unmet medical need. Takeda has an excellent track record in neuroscience research and we are excited to be working together. By combining our scientific expertise and sharing the risks and cost of development, we hope to accelerate the advancement of MEDI1341 as a promising new approach to support the treatment of people with Parkinson’s disease around the world.”
Emiliangelo Ratti, Head, Global CNS Therapeutic Area Unit, Takeda, said: “Despite modest advancements in maintenance therapies, Parkinson’s disease continues to represent a devastating diagnosis and a burdensome challenge for therapeutic discovery. Our collaboration with AstraZeneca is a sophisticated one that will enable us to efficiently advance a validated target in a new modality, with the aim of improving the lives of patients.”
Contractual and financial considerations
Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will lead Phase I development while Takeda will lead future clinical development activities. The companies will share equally future development and commercialisation costs for MEDI1341, as well as any future revenues. Takeda will pay AstraZeneca up to $400 million, including initial revenue in 2017 and development and sales milestones thereafter. Additional terms of the agreement are not disclosed.
About Parkinson’s disease
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease, after Alzheimer’s disease.1 An estimated seven to ten million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease. The combined direct and indirect cost of Parkinson’s, including treatment, social security payments and lost income from inability to work, is estimated to be nearly $25 billion per year in the United States alone.2
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases and Respiratory. The Company also is selectively active in the areas of autoimmunity, neuroscience and infection. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.
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