Lilly and AZ hook up again for Alzheimer's
- AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly & Co. have signed a deal to develop the amyloid-beta 42-targeting monoclonal antibody, MEDI1814, which is in Phase 1 trials for Alzheimer's disease, the company's said late last week.
- AstraZeneca will get a $30 million upfront payment from Lilly. Further financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.
- This is the second Alzheimer's disease agreement between the two companies. In September 2014, Lilly and AZ hooked up to develop the BACE inhibitor AZD3293, currently in two Phase 3 trials.
With this deal, the two companies have shown that they are sticking with the focus of amyloid plaque, despite a string of setbacks for the industry and the most recent failure of Lilly's own solanezumab. The industry has long relied on the theory that a build up of amyloid plaque in the brain leads to the debilitating neurodegenerative disease, but there still isn't sufficient evidence that the plaque is the cause.
The big pharma partners are sticking with the theory, albeit via a slightly different route. While solanezumab binds to soluble monomeric forms of amyloid beta, MEDI1814 targets the specific species amyloid-beta 42, which makes up 5-10% of the amyloid beta total. Lilly has a total of six drugs (including solanezumab) in clinical trials in Alzheimer's disease and one in dementia.
"We are excited to build on an already productive collaboration with Lilly, which combines the expertise of our two companies, with a new program focused on the amyloid-beta pathway," said Mene Pangalos, executive vice president, IMED Biotech Unit and Business Development, AstraZeneca. "MEDI1814 has a unique mechanism among antibodies in clinical development and could provide a distinct approach to treating Alzheimer's disease."
This is the second Alzheimer's disease collaboration between Lilly and AstraZeneca. Back in 2014, the two companies signed up to develop and commercialize AZ's oral beta secretase cleaving enzyme (BACE) inhibitor, AZD3293. This agent, which decreases beta amyloid formation from amyloid precursor protein and therefore aims to prevent plaque development, is currently in Phase 3 clinical trials and has fast track designation.
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