Voyager Therapeutics and AbbVie announce global strategic collaboration to develop potential new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease and other tau-related neurodegenerative diseases.
Voyager Therapeutics, Inc., a clinical-stage gene therapy company, and AbbVie, a global biopharmaceutical company, have entered into an exclusive strategic collaboration and option agreement to develop and commercialize vectorized antibodies directed against tau for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
The collaboration combines AbbVie’s monoclonal antibody expertise, global clinical developmen,t and commercial capabilities with Voyager’s gene therapy platform and expertise that enables generating adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.
In healthy individuals, tau is an abundant protein in the brain that promotes cellular stability and function. In the diseased brain, altered tau accumulates, resulting in impaired brain function and neuronal cell loss. The progressive spread of abnormal tau in the brain closely correlates with progressive neurodegeneration and symptom severity. However, one of the current limitations with the use of weekly or biweekly infusions of biologic therapies for neurodegenerative diseases is that only a small amount of drug is able to make its way into the brain.
This collaboration seeks to develop a potential one-time treatment using Voyager’s gene therapy platform to reduce tau pathology through the delivery of an AAV vector antibody that encodes the genetic instructions to produce anti-tau antibodies within the brain.
Details of the Collaboration and Financial Terms
Under the terms of the collaboration and option agreement, Voyager will perform research and preclinical development of vectorized antibodies directed against tau, after which AbbVie may select one or more vectorized antibodies to proceed into IND-enabling studies and clinical development. Voyager will be responsible for the research, IND-enabling and Phase 1 studies activities and costs.
Following completion of Phase 1 clinical development, AbbVie has an option to license the vectorized tau antibody program and would then lead further clinical development and global commercialization for tauopathies, including Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. Voyager has an option to share in the costs of clinical development for higher royalty rates.
Voyager will receive an upfront cash payment of $69 million as well as up to $155 million in potential preclinical and Phase 1 option payments. In addition, Voyager is eligible to receive up to $895 million in development and regulatory milestones for each vectorized tau antibody compound and is eligible to receive tiered royalties on the global commercial net sales of the vectorized antibodies for tauopathies, including Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
(Source: Voyager Therapeutics, Inc.)
Filed Under: Drug Discovery