Biotechnology company Prothena has formed a multi-year research and development alliance with Celgene to develop new drugs for multiple neurodegenerative diseases.
The partners will focus on three proteins including tau, TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43), and an undisclosed target. These proteins are believed to be associated with the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases.
Tau is implicated in Alzheimer’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, frontotemporal dementia, chronic traumatic encephalopathy and other tauopathies, and TDP-43 in amytrophic lateral sclerosis and related TDP-43 proteinopathies.
For each of the programmes, Celgene has an exclusive right to license clinical candidates in the US at the investigational new drug filing.
If exercised, Celgene would gain the right to extend the licence to include global rights upon the completion of the Phase I clinical trial. The company would have to fund further clinical development and commercialisation.
Celgene neuroscience and imaging corporate vice-president Richard Hargreaves said: “Our collaboration leverages each company’s core expertise in protein homeostasis and protein clearance to target proteins that are the underlying cause of many neurodegenerative and orphan diseases.
“The programmes we have chosen to collaborate on have the potential to provide foundational assets from which we can build new therapeutic approaches to these currently untreatable neurological disorders.”
Under the partnership, Celgene will make an upfront payment of $100m to Prothena.
Celgene will also provide a $50m equity investment, along with potential exercise, regulatory and commercial milestones payments for each licensed programme.
Prothena is eligible for additional royalties on net sales of all resulting marketed products.