Irish pharmaceutical firm Allergan and start-up Rugen Therapeutics have collaborated to discover and develop new drugs to treat autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD).
Rugen is a biotechnology firm focused on developing new treatments for unmet CNS disorders and funded by the F-Prime Biomedical Research Initiative (FBRI).
As part of the deal, Rugen received an upfront initiation fee and is also eligible for development stage initiation and success-based milestone payments for advancing compounds in development.
The deal will see Allergan have the exclusive option to acquire all rights, including global intellectual property to the compounds following clinical proof of concept studies.
Allergan executive vice-president of global brands research and development David Nicholson said: “Autism spectrum disorders and OCD are areas of medicine where there continues to be a substantial amount of unmet need in identifying and developing treatments for the underlying mechanisms of disease.
“For example, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, one in 68 children has autism spectrum disease.
“The compounds we are working to develop with Rugen are in preclinical development, but we are excited by the possibilities that these novel molecules may provide to physicians, patients and caregivers facing these disorders.”
The companies will jointly develop new small molecule drug candidates, with initial focus on early stage compounds, which are first-in-class orally active molecules being developed to treat multiple central nervous system (CNS) disorders.
The deal follows Allergan’s $160bn merger deal with US drug manufacturer Pfizer to create the world’s largest pharmaceutical company.
Image: An 18 month old boy with autism, obsessively stacking cans. Photo: Copyright (c) 2003 by Nancy J Price (aka Mom).