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Roche signs Parkinson's deal with Prothena

Antibody development agreement is worth up to $600m
Roche Basel Switzerland

Roche has upped its efforts in Parkinson's disease by agreeing to research new antibodies with the US biotech Prothena.

The two companies will work together to develop and commercialise antibodies that target the protein alpha-synuclein, which is found in neurons in the body and is associated with neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson's.

Alpha-synuclein has become an increasing area of interest in the research of treatments for Parkinson's disease, and other companies focused on targeting the protein include Biogen Idec, via a deal with Amicus Therapeutics, and Lundbeck, which has received funding from Parkinson's charity the Michael J Fox Foundation.

The Roche deal sees the Swiss pharma giant pay Prothena an upfront payment and near-term clinical milestones totalling $45m.

Prothena is also eligible to receive additional payments of up to $380m for additional development and regulatory milestones in the US, as well as $175m worth of milestone payments for non-US milestones, potentially taking its total payment to $600m.

The lead antibody candidate involved in the deal is PRX002, a monoclonal antibody that is expected to enter phase I clinical trials in 2014.

Both Roche and Prothena will work on the development of PRX002, making use of Roche's 'brain shuttle' technology, which aims to help medicines overcome the blood-brain barrier. This technology was also a key aspect of a recent deal with Isis to tackle Huntingdon's disease.

In the US, the companies will share all development and commercialisation costs, as well as profits, on a 70/30 basis in favour of Roche. Prothena also retains an option to co-promote PRX002.

Outside the US, Roche will have sole responsibility for the commercialisation of PRX002, although Prothena will receive royalties on sales.

No details were given for how the development and commercialisation of other antibody candidates would be divided.

Roche's head of neuroscience and small molecules research Luca Santarelli said the deal fit with the company's wider plans.

He said: “This approach is consistent with our strategy in other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's, Huntington, multiple sclerosis or spinal muscular atrophy, where we target the molecular pathophysiology and intervene early with the objective to slowdown or halt the progression of disease."

Article by
Phil Taylor

13th December 2013

From: Research



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