AbbVie and Voyager Therapeutics will engage in the development of vectorized antibodies to treat Parkinson's disease and other synucleinopathies, under a deal worth over $1.5bn.
As part of an exclusive, global strategic collaboration and option agreement, AbbVie and Voyager will develop and commercialize vectorized antibodies directed at pathological species of alpha-synuclein to treat Parkinson’s disease and other diseases characterized by the abnormal accumulation of misfolded alpha-synuclein protein.
The delivery of comfortable quantities of antibodies across the blood-brain barrier is a challenging task for current biologic therapies of neurodegenerative diseases.
Voyager’s vectorized antibody platform and path intends to circumvent this limitation by delivering the genes that encode for the production of therapeutic antibodies using the firm’s blood-brain barrier penetrant adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsids.
The approach is said to help deliver higher levels of therapeutic antibodies to the brain compared to the current systemic administration of antibodies.
AbbVie discovery neuroscience research vice president Dr Jim Summers said: “The expansion of AbbVie’s partnership with Voyager represents the potential we see in the ability of its vectorized antibody platform to surpass the blood-brain barrier and more effectively deliver biologic therapies.”
Under the deal, Voyager will carry out research and preclinical development work to vectorize antibodies directed against alpha-synuclein, which are designated by AbbVie. Later AbbVie will select one or more vectorized antibodies to advance into IND-enabling studies and clinical development.
As per terms of the deal, Voyager will secure an upfront cash payment of $65m and has the option to earn up to $245m in preclinical and phase 1 option payments.
Voyager is also provided with an option to receive up to an additional $728m in potential development and regulatory milestone payments for each alpha-synuclein vectorized antibody compound.
In addition, Voyager will secure tiered royalties on the global commercial net sales of each alpha-synuclein vectorized antibody and may earn up to $500m in commercial milestones.
Voyager Therapeutics president and CEO Andre Turenne said: “Our scientific platform allows us to develop unique AAV gene therapies that are designed to knock down disease-causing gene expression, increase the expression of missing proteins, or enable the expression of therapeutic antibodies through vectorization.”