Angelini Pharma has entered an exclusive global development and commercialisation deal with JCR Pharmaceuticals to develop and commercialise new biologic therapies to treat epilepsy.

The partnership will combine Angelini Pharma’s expertise in neurological diseases with the scientific and technological strengths of JCR Pharmaceuticals for delivering biotherapeutics across the blood-brain barrier.

The companies will undertake discovery and pre-clinical development work to identify brain-penetrant biologic therapeutics using JCR Pharmaceuticals’ J-brain cargo, a blood-brain barrier-penetrating technology.

Through a receptor-mediated transcytosis mechanism, the technology enables the delivery of biotherapeutics into the central nervous system.

Angelini Pharma CEO Jacopo Andreose stated: “Epilepsy is one of the most prevalent chronic neurological diseases. In the past decade, it has been recognised as a social disease with a high level of disability and mortality burden, and more research is urgently needed to identify targeted solutions for this underserved patient community.

“Through this strategic collaboration with JCR, a company with a wealth of biotechnological expertise, we will combine our respective strengths to explore the use of biologics in this area and accelerate critically needed treatment options for people living with epilepsy.”

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After completion of the pre-clinical development phase, Angelini Pharma will have an exclusive licence option to move the candidates identified as part of the partnership deal into clinical development and commercialisation outside Japan.

JCR Pharmaceuticals will retain the commercialisation rights of the candidates in Japan.

The company will receive reimbursement of research expenses and an upfront payment, and will also be eligible for $505.5m in additional development and commercial milestone payments.

It will also be entitled to receive tiered royalties.

JCR Pharmaceuticals president and chairman Shin Ashida stated: “I believe that our proprietary J-brain cargo technology is an important key to the treatment of central nervous system disorders.

“Combining our key technologies with Angelini Pharma’s deep therapeutic knowledge in neurological diseases will create new treatment options for people living with epilepsy.”