AstraZeneca has acquired a portfolio of neuroscience assets from Link Medicine Corporation, a privately held biopharmaceutical company based in Massachusetts, USA. Link Medicine has focused its research and development efforts in the field of autophagy, an intracellular process that clears and recycles misfolded proteins and has been developing potential new treatments for a range of neurodegenerative diseases.
AstraZeneca acquired multiple small molecule assets in clinical and preclinical stage that target the enzyme farnesyltransferase and modulate autophagy. Autophagy is an emerging area of research that can be applied to a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Both of these conditions are characterised by a build-up of incorrectly folded, aggregated and ultimately neurotoxic proteins.
Neuroscience is a challenging yet highly exciting area of science where there is huge unmet medical need. The agreement is the third for AstraZeneca’s new neuroscience Innovative Medicines Unit, which was established earlier this year. Under this new model, AstraZeneca is continuing to invest in neuroscience discovery research and early development for small and large molecules by tapping into the best available external science.
Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will make specified upfront and milestone payments and will assume all of the programme’s research and development activities. The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed.
John F. Dee, President and CEO of Link Medicine, said: “We are delighted to have reached an agreement with AstraZeneca, who have a strong heritage in neuroscience research and development. We are confident their scientists will accelerate the development of this truly novel programme that has broad applications in neurodegenerative diseases.” Dr. Menelas Pangalos, executive vice president of Innovative Medicines, AstraZeneca, said: “AstraZeneca is committed to neuroscience drug discovery and development, and is always looking for new ways to share cost, risk and reward with other research partners.
This agreement provides us with an entry into an exciting and vital piece of research into autophagy — an area of considerable importance in neuroscience.” This innovative therapeutic approach is designed to restore the natural balance between the production and clearance of toxic protein aggregates. The long-term aim of this research is to develop disease-modifying drugs that will benefit patients with neurodegenerative diseases.