Boehringer Ingelheim inks CNS deal with Autifony
- GlaxoSmithKline plc spinout Autifony Therapeutics Limited has snagged a partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim, giving the German big pharma an exclusive option to Autifony programs for serious central nervous system disorders.
- In a deal that could be worth up to €627.5 million (around $742.1 million), Boehringer Ingelheim will have the rights to purchase Autifony’s Kv3.1/3.2 positive modulator platform, including the Phase 1b drug AUT00206, being assessed in schizophrenia and Fragile X syndrome.
- Boehringer Ingelheim will make an initial upfront payment of €25 million (around $29.6 million), as well as milestone payments and royalties.
The central nervous system is one of Boehringer Ingelheim's areas of focus, and the company is seeking partners in neuropsychiatry, including cognitive impairment in Alzheimer’s disease, negative symptoms and cognitive impairment in schizophrenia, treatment-resistant depression and impulse control disorders.
Preclinical studies of Autifony Therapeutics Limited's AUT00206 have shown signs that it could work in the hard-to-treat cognitive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia, as well as having an impact on the positive symptoms without the side effects of existing treatments, and a Phase 1b study is ongoing.
"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," said Jan Poth, therapeutic area head of CNS and Immunology at Boehringer Ingelheim.
A Kv3.1/3.2 modulator, AUT00206 is also in a Phase 1b study in Fragile X syndrome, for which is has orphan drug designation. The partners plan to continue investigations in this indication, as well as in hearing disorders and other orphan CNS disorders.
Autifony appears to be alone in its focus on this target. Other companies are looking to treat negative symptoms, which can be the toughest to treat. These include Minerva Neurosciences, which is working up to a Phase 3 trial of MN-101; Newron Pharmaceuticals' evenamide, in Phase 2; and Acadia Pharmaceuticals' Nuplazid (pimavanserin) in Phase 2.
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