Boehringer Ingelheim and Vitae Pharmaceuticals, Inc, announced todaythat they have entered into a significant worldwide collaboration toresearch and develop beta-secretase (BACE) inhibitors for the treatmentof Alzheimer’s disease.
Current therapies for Alzheimer’s disease can improve symptoms, but donot affect the progression of the disease. The inhibition of BACE – anenzyme involved in the formation of amyloid-beta plaques whichaccumulate in the brains of patients with Alzheimer’s disease – offersthe potential to slow or even halt disease progression.
Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Vitae will receive $42million in upfront and near-term payments from Boehringer Ingelheim,consisting of upfront cash, an equity investment in Vitae, and researchfunding to support further discovery efforts.
In addition, Vitae will be eligible to receive $200 million inpre-commercial milestone payments based on the achievement of clinicaland regulatory goals, as well as further milestone payments based onpotential additional compounds and / or other approved indications.Vitae will receive commercial performance payments and royalties fromBoehringer Ingelheim on all potential future product sales. Furtherfinancial details were not disclosed.
The companies will work jointly to identify and advance candidates forclinical development. Thereafter, Boehringer Ingelheim will leaddevelopment and commercialisation of all products for Alzheimer’sdisease to capitalize on its global marketing and sales expertise. Vitae will have the right to develop products independently for certainother indications.
“I am very pleased to be working with Boehringer Ingelheim’sexceptional neuroscience group on this program”, said Jeffrey Hatfield,CEO of Vitae.
“This collaboration accomplishes three importantobjectives for our company. It adds substantial neuroscience expertiseand specialized resources to the BACE program, which has advancedremarkably during its 16-month life. It also extends what is already avery successful partnership model with Boehringer Ingelheim, stemmingfrom our existing diabetes and metabolic syndrome collaboration.Boehringer Ingelheim’s team-oriented culture presents an idealenvironment for partnership success. And finally, it continues Vitae’sbusiness model of financing the company’s growth through rapid valuecreation and partnering versus relying on the capital markets – whichis favorable for our shareholders.”
Dr Manfred Haehl, Corporate Senior Vice President R&D and Medicineof Boehringer Ingelheim worldwide, added that “Based on our researchexperience in Alzheimer’s disease and our excellent experience incollaborating with Vitae for the diabetes program, we will be using ouroverall expertise in CNS disease research, drug development andcommercialization to strengthen our current neuroscience portfolio.Ultimately, we all aim to create new treatments for patients sufferingfrom this serious debilitating disease. We therefore will see thecompanies’ joint efforts expanding to create medicines that areurgently needed in two widespread disease areas, namely diabetes andAlzheimer’s disease. It is part of our core development strategy toestablish long-term alliances with innovative companies that broadenthe scope of our own exciting pipeline successes.”