Lacerta Therapeutics has entered a new licensing and research partnership agreement with Eli Lilly and Company subsidiary, Prevail Therapeutics, to discover and develop adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsids for treating central nervous system (CNS) diseases. 

Under the collaboration, Prevail will obtain rights to use one of the new AAV capsids of Lacerta for selected CNS targets that are currently undisclosed. 

Additionally, the AAV capsid platform of Lacerta will be leveraged for discovering and developing new AAV capsids that are streamlined for acting on preferred CNS tissues and cell types. 

To expedite the gene therapy development for neurodegenerative disease patients, the alliance will use the established capabilities of Lacerta in AAV technologies as well as the development and clinical expertise of Prevail.

According to the deal, Lacerta will oversee the discovery of the capsids, as well as their screening and validation, while Prevail will carry out the preclinical and Investigational New Drug-facilitating studies with therapeutic payloads. 

Prevail will also handle the complete production, clinical development and marketing activities. 

Lacerta is entitled to receive an upfront payment as well as development and commercial milestone payments from Prevail.

In the future, Prevail will also make tiered royalty payments based on net sales of the products that use capsids covered under the partnership. 

Under a convertible promissory note agreement, Lilly will offer new funding for Lacerta.

Prevail Therapeutics chief scientific officer Mansuo Shannon said: “We are excited to be collaborating with Lacerta on the discovery of novel AAV capsids with improved CNS delivery to advance the development of new medicines by Prevail and the Lilly Institute for Genetic Medicine. 

“We believe this will allow us to move promising therapeutics more quickly to the clinic to study novel genetic medicines for diseases with high unmet need.”

In January last year, Lilly acquired biotechnology company Prevail for nearly $1.04bn.

Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva.

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