Roche, AC Immune enter licensing deal for anti-Tau Alzheimer’s disease therapies

Roche's Genentech unit entered an exclusive global licensing deal worth more than 400 million Swiss francs ($421 million) with AC Immune to develop anti-Tau antibodies for the potential treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, the biopharmaceutical company reported Monday. James Sabry, Genentech’s vice president of partnering, said "the addition of this anti-Tau programme...complements other approaches we are investigating, including crenezumab which we in-licensed from AC Immune in 2006."

Under the agreed terms, Roche will make an undisclosed upfront payment to AC Immune, with the latter eligible to receive further payments linked to development and marketing milestones. In addition, Roche will pay AC Immune royalties on sales of products resulting from the collaboration. AC Immune noted that the companies will jointly identify and formulate a number of preclinical candidates, with Roche assuming responsibility for all development, manufacturing and commercialisation of any resulting antibodies for Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

According to AC Immune’s CEO Andrea Pfeifer, the anti-Tau antibodies have been shown to reduce the number of tangles in fibres within brain cells and improve memory in mice. She added that studies in humans may begin in 18 months to three years.

Crenezumab is currently in mid-stage development for patients with mild-to-moderate Alzheimer’s disease, with results expected next year. Last month, Roche said that the experimental anti-amyloid treatment will also be evaluated in the first-ever trial aimed at testing Alzheimer's prevention in people who are predisposed to develop the disease.

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