AstraZeneca today announced that MedImmune, its global biologics research and development unit, has acquired AlphaCore Pharma, an Ann Arbor, Michigan-based biotechnology company focused on the development of ACP-501, a recombinant human lecithin-cholesterol acyltransferase (LCAT) enzyme.
LCAT, an enzyme in the bloodstream, is a key component in the reverse cholesterol transport (RCT) system, which is thought to play a major role in driving the removal of cholesterol from the body and may be critical in the management of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels. The LCAT enzyme could also play a role in a rare, hereditary disorder called familial LCAT deficiency (FLD) in which the LCAT enzyme is absent.
Cardiovascular and metabolic disease is a core therapy area for AstraZeneca’s small and large molecule research.
“As the science in this area continues to evolve, we are committed to exploring unique pathways that could lead to new combination or standalone therapies for patients living with chronic and acute cardiovascular diseases,” said Dr. Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President, MedImmune.
“Cardiovascular disease is projected to remain the single leading cause of death worldwide over the next decade and beyond. Through novel approaches like LCAT, we hope to shift the treatment paradigms in this area to help prevent and treat these conditions.”
In 2012, results from a Phase I clinical trial of ACP-501 met the primary safety and tolerability endpoints. No serious adverse events were reported. ACP-501 also met the study’s secondary endpoints by rapidly and substantially elevating HDL cholesterol. The data from this study support ongoing clinical development of ACP-501.
Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.