AbbVie, Voyager in $1.5-Billion Deal for Vectorized Antibodies for Parkinson’s

By Lillian Torres -

February 26, 2019

AbbVie and Voyager Therapeutics, a clinical-stage gene therapy company based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, have formed a strategic collaboration and option agreement to develop and commercialize vectorized antibodies for treating Parkinson’s disease in a deal worth up to $1.58 billion.

The deal expands collaborative efforts on vectorized, antibodies to target pathological species of alpha-synucleinfor the potential treatment of Parkinson's disease and other diseases (synucleinopathies) characterized by the abnormal accumulation of misfolded alpha-synuclein protein.

Under the terms of the collaboration and option agreement, Voyager will perform research and preclinical development work to vectorize antibodies directed against alpha-synuclein that are designated by AbbVie, after which AbbVie may select one or more vectorized antibodies to advance into investigational new drug application (IND)-enabling studies and clinical development. Voyager will be responsible for the research, IND-enabling and Phase I clinical activities and costs. Following completion of Phase I clinical development, AbbVie has an option to license the vectorized alpha-synuclein antibody program for further clinical development and global commercialization for indications, including Parkinson's disease and other synucleinopathies.

Voyager will receive an upfront cash payment of $65 million and has the potential to earn up to $245 million in preclinical and Phase I option payments. Voyager is also eligible to receive up to an additional $728 million in potential development and regulatory milestone payments for each alpha-synuclein vectorized antibody compound. Voyager is eligible to receive tiered royalties on the global commercial net sales of each alpha-synuclein vectorized antibody and may also earn up to a total of $500 million in commercial milestones.

The delivery of sufficient quantities of antibodies across the blood-brain barrier is one of the major limitations of current biologic therapies for neurodegenerative diseases that require frequent systemic injections with large amounts of antibodies, according to information from the companies. Voyager's vectorized antibody platform and approach aims to circumvent this limitation by delivering, with a potential, one-time intravenous administration, the genes that encode for the production of therapeutic antibodies utilizing Voyager's blood-brain barrier penetrant adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsids. This approach could result in the potential for higher levels of therapeutic antibodies in the brain compared with current systemic administration of antibodies, according to the companies.

Source: AbbVie and Voyager Therapeutics