Boehringer Ingelheim has lined up an option on the schizophrenia drugs under development at GSK spinout Autifony, including the lead therapy AUT00206.
Starting with a €25 million upfront fee, with another €17.5 million in near-term milestones, Boehringer agreed to pay up to €627.5 million for global rights to its Kv3 modulators. And after advancing the work on schizophrenia, the partners want to branch out into Fragile X and other CNS ailments.
By focusing on the Kv3 ion channel, researchers believe the lead drug can play a big role in controlling schizophrenia. And with funding from Pfizer and SV Life Sciences, the biotech has been making headway with a pair of Phase Ib studies.
In May they began one Phase Ib that tracked electrophysiological measures of the disease to help gauge its impact. And researchers also tested the drug in healthy volunteers, using the horse tranquilizer and party drug ketamine to induce symptoms of schizophrenia.
Autifony was originally spun out of GSK to explore hearing therapies, but the biotech appears to have left that interest on the back burner as the company concentrates on CNS.
“This partnership opens up the possibility of testing clinically an unprecedented therapeutic concept for the treatment of schizophrenia and to develop novel compounds with significant value to the patient,” says Jan Poth, the CNS chief at Boehringer.
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