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Allies against Alzheimer’s
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.-Biogen Idec and Zurich-based Neurimmune Therapeutics AG have entered into an agreement for the worldwide development and commercialization of novel, fully human antibodies for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. The alliance will focus on the development of antibodies that bind to amyloid beta, a pathogenic molecule that is thought to cause neurodegeneration and loss of cognitive function in Alzheimer's patients. Currently there are no therapies approved to slow or stop the progression of the disease.
Neurimmune will conduct research to identify potential therapeutic antibodies using the company's Reverse Translational Medicine (RTM) platform. Biogen Idec will be responsible for the development and commercialization of all products. Neurimmune could receive an aggregate of $380 million in upfront and success-based milestone payments, as well as a royalty on net sales of any products.
"Biogen Idec has the manufacturing, development and commercialization capabilities to leverage our discovery and technology expertise. With their extraordinary experience in the development of biopharmaceuticals as well as their deep history in neuroscience, Biogen Idec is the perfect partner for Neurimmune," says Dr. Edward Stuart, CEO of Neurimmune. "Our RTM platform is well-suited to the identification of novel, safe immunotherapies for the treatment of human disease and we are particularly proud to have entered into this deal less than one year after the founding of the company."
"Biogen Idec has built a leading position in the development and commercialization of treatments for neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis," adds Dr. Alfred Sandrock, Biogen Idec's senior vice president, neurology research and development. "This alliance with Neurimmune enables us to be at the forefront of applied Alzheimer's research, with access to an outstanding team of researchers and a remarkable technology platform."
Alzheimer's disease is the most prevalent age-related neurodegenerative disease, affecting more than 15 million patients worldwide. Alzheimer's disease patients experience the progressive loss of cognitive functions, particularly those related to memory, followed by death eight to 15 years following a progressive decline in their disease. The pathology of Alzheimer's disease is characterized by distinctive features including the deposition of amyloid beta in the form of senile plaques and the loss of specific neuronal populations in the brain.
Professor Roger Nitsch, a founder of Neurimmune and head of the Division of Psychiatric Research at the University of Zurich, notes: "We have realized our aim of bringing our RTM platform to this advanced stage in such a short time period. We look forward to the advancement of these products for the benefit of Alzheimer's disease patients."