AstraZeneca has sold off marketing and development rights to another one of its pipeline assets.
This time it’s Takeda that’s stepping up, inking a deal package totaling $400 million for development and commercialization rights to its home grown MEDI1341, an alpha-synuclein antibody designed to combat Parkinson’s disease.
AstraZeneca’s research team will hand the drug over to Takeda at the end of a Phase I study. Then the struggling pharma giant will share in the cost of development and commercialization — if it comes to that — while also sharing any profits.
For AstraZeneca this is just the latest in a growing lineup of offloading deals. The pharma giant has either been selling off or partnering off its disappointments as well as its next-gen drugs as CEO Pascal Soriot grabs some quick revenue and outlicenses drugs the company either can’t afford to develop on its own or doesn’t want to after rejigging R&D priorities.
Soriot has gambled eveything on big plans for growing the oncology portfolio, which has been on a roller coaster ride of successes and failures.
Takeda, meanwhile, has been doing everything it can to grow its own pipeline as CEO Christophe Weber and R&D chief Andy Plump rip up their old R&D group and revamp development activities at the aging Japanese pharma. Takeda is keeping a big focus on neurosciences, though, which makes it a good partner for AstraZeneca, which has pretty much bowed out of the field.
In this case it’s jumping into a field where researchers are exploring the potential of flushing toxic clusters of alpha-synuclein in Parkinson’s patients, which some believe play a role in triggering Parkinson’s — following a similar theory that amyloid beta or tau launches Alzheimer’s. Just last April Roche and its partner Prothena outlined biomarker data from their Phase I, looking to jump into a mid-stage trial as they set out to see if they can actually change the course of this disease or perhaps prevent it from occurring.
Noted AstraZeneca EVP Mene Pangalos: “Today there are no medicines that can slow or halt the degenerative progress of Parkinson’s disease so this remains a large area of unmet medical need. Takeda has an excellent track record in neuroscience research and we are excited to be working together. By combining our scientific expertise and sharing the risks and cost of development, we hope to accelerate the advancement of MEDI1341 as a promising new approach to support the treatment of people with Parkinson’s disease around the world.”
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