- Posted by ISPE Boston
- On March 6, 2019
Voyager Therapeutics and AbbVie have announced an exclusive, global strategic collaboration and option agreement to develop and commercialize vectorized antibodies for the potential treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other diseases (synucleinopathies) characterized by the abnormal accumulation of misfolded alpha-synuclein protein.
The delivery of sufficient quantities of antibodies across the blood-brain barrier is one of the major limitations of current biologic therapies for neurodegenerative diseases that require frequent systemic injections with large amounts of antibodies. Voyager’s vectorized antibody platform and approach aims to circumvent this limitation by delivering, with a potential one-time intravenous administration, the genes that encode for the production of therapeutic antibodies utilizing Voyager’s blood-brain barrier penetrant adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsids. This approach could result in the potential for higher levels of therapeutic antibodies in the brain compared with current systemic administration of antibodies.
Under terms of the agreement, Voyager will receive an upfront cash payment of $65 million and has the potential to earn up to $245 million in preclinical and Phase 1 option payments. Voyager is also eligible to receive up to an additional $728 million in potential development and regulatory milestone payments for each alpha-synuclein vectorized antibody compound. Voyager is eligible to receive tiered royalties on the global commercial net sales of each alpha-synuclein vectorized antibody and may also earn up to a total of $500 million in commercial milestones.
“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,” said Andre Turenne, president and chief executive officer of Voyager Therapeutics. “We are excited to expand our efforts towards pathological species of alpha-synuclein given its role in the progression of disease, and AbbVie is the ideal partner to advance this new target and therapeutic modality.”
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder worldwide. A hallmark of Parkinson’s disease is the accumulation of misfolded alpha-synuclein that can eventually lead to the formation of protein deposits and progressive neurodegeneration. Approaches to interfere with this process could potentially delay the progression of Parkinson’s disease and other synucleinopathies including Lewy Body Dementia and multiple system atrophy. (Source: Voyager Therapeutics Website, 23 February, 2019)