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GlaxoSmithKline increases its neurological outlook and pays $700 million to share the development of Alector’s two main drugs

Weeks after the first time FDA approves a new treatment for Alzheimer’s disease In the past two decades, GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay 700 million US dollars in advance to participate in the development of Alector’s two most advanced drugs. Alector is using different methods to treat neurodegenerative diseases.​​​

This Deal announced on Friday Provides a way for GSK to add neuroscience drugs to a pipeline that does not list any drugs. Alector, located in South San Francisco, has obtained a partner with the resources and scale to commercialize these drugs on a global scale. It is also now receiving funds to fund the development of its own other drug pipelines, and may develop more in the future. Milestone payments related to the progress of the two main drugs may bring Alector up to $1.5 billion in additional cash.

“Our partnership allows us to retain a 50-50 profit share and commercial rights,” Alector CEO Arnon Rosenthal said in a conference call on Friday. “We have not really given up any of our plans. We have basically paid for their development costs, but we still retain a very huge potential for growth. This is a strategy we will continue to pursue.”

The science that piqued GlaxoSmithKline’s interest is Alector’s research on the role of immune cells in the health of the nervous system. This field is called immunoneurology by biotechnology. According to the company, immune dysfunction is the root cause of many problems that lead to neurodegenerative diseases. Alector’s therapy aims to treat these diseases by preserving or restoring the function of key immune cells.

Alector’s main project addresses the lack of granulin precursors, a protein that regulates immune activity in the brain. In some people, genetic mutations cause a 50% or more reduction in the production of granulin precursors, which then leads to frontotemporal dementia. Alector’s drug is an antibody designed to bind to a protein that causes degradation of the granule protein precursor. The lead drug candidate AL001 is designed to prevent the degradation of the granule protein precursor and increase the half-life of the functional version of this key protein. This intravenous drug is currently undergoing phase 3 trials in patients with frontotemporal dementia.

Alector believes that solving the deficiency of pregranulin can also treat other rare diseases with the same pathology. A phase 2 study is currently recruiting different genetic subsets of patients with frontotemporal dementia. In addition, the company plans to start the second phase trial of AL001 in the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in the second half of this year.

Another drug in the progranulin project, AL101, addresses progranulin deficiency as a way to treat more common neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease. A phase 1 test in healthy volunteers is currently evaluating the intravenous and subcutaneous version of AL101.

A day before the announcement of the partnership, Elliott Advisors, an investment company with an important position in GlaxoSmithKline, published a letter It is claimed that the company’s poor performance, the executive team and board of directors of the pharmaceutical giant will better serve the new blood.In response, GlaxoSmithKline issued a statement This reaffirms the board’s support for CEO Emma Walmsley, her actions and her management team.

Vaccine and drug pipeline announced last week GSK’s virtual investor update No neuroscience drugs are listed clinically. The transaction with Alector provides its clinical stage assets with the potential to solve a variety of neurodegenerative diseases.​​​ According to the agreement, Alector will continue to develop its two lead drugs through Phase II clinical trials.After that, the partners will share the late-stage development equally, and if approved, the drug will be commercialized in the United States

GlaxoSmithKline will lead the commercialization of AL101 in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease in the United States, and Alector will lead the commercialization of AL001 in orphan diseases. Outside the United States, GlaxoSmithKline commercializes these two drugs, and Alector will be eligible to receive royalties from the sales.

Rosenthal said the collaboration of Alector’s two main drugs is a competitive process. He added that the company chose GlaxoSmithKline because it offered a deal that allowed Alector to retain strong control over its assets. In addition, the common vision of the two companies is to use immunology and genetics to develop new drugs with different mechanisms of action, he said.

Alector’s research is not limited to solving proganulin deficiency. The company’s product line includes three other Alzheimer’s disease drug candidates, each of which takes a different approach to the disease. The company also has a preclinical oncology project and is exploring ways to complement and expand the currently available immuno-oncology drugs.

Shehnaaz Suliman, president and chief operating officer of Alector, stated that the collaboration will enable the two main drugs of the biotech company to be applied to more markets for broader neurodegeneration at a faster rate than the company can do. Sexual diseases​​ The research will be funded by advance payments and milestone payments.

“We believe this will allow us to transform this biology into a treatment, thereby changing the lives of as many patients as possible,” Suliman said.

Photo: SIphotography, Getty Images

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