AstraZeneca out-licenses imaging agent for amyloid detection to aid diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease to Neoprobe
Tuesday, 13 December 2011
AstraZeneca today announced it has out-licensed AZD4694, its late-stage radiopharmaceutical imaging candidate, to Neoprobe Corporation.
AZD4694 is a Flourine-18 labeled radiotracer discovered by AstraZeneca to support development of potential treatments for Alzheimer´s disease.
AZD4694 also has the potential to aid the diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease and works by binding to amyloid deposits in the brain that can then be imaged in positron emission tomography (PET) scans and used to evaluate patients with signs or symptoms of cognitive impairment. Amyloid plaque pathology is a required feature for diagnosis of probable Alzheimer’s disease. Patients who are negative for amyloid pathology do not have Alzheimer’s disease, and could potentially benefit from other treatments.
Clinical studies in more than 70 patients suggest that AZD4694 has the ability to image amyloid deposits in patients quickly and safely with high sensitivity. AZD4694 exhibits low background and white matter uptake, thereby providing clear images of beta-amyloid deposits.
As part of the agreement Neoprobe will be responsible for the clinical development and commercialisation of AZD4694 and expects to initiate a Phase III clinical program in early 2013. AstraZeneca retains the right to use AZD4694 in clinical trials to support development of potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.
“The discovery and development of new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease is a top priority for AstraZeneca. This alliance couples Neoprobe’s expertise in diagnostic imaging with our own expertise in the discovery and development of innovative medicines, and will further expand our ability to evaluate new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease in the future,” said Christer Köhler, Vice President and Head of CNS & Pain Innovative Medicines at AstraZeneca.
Financial terms of the in-licensing agreement include an upfront payment of $5 million to AstraZeneca and a series of contingent milestone payments including up to $6.5 million in potential payments based on the achievement of clinical development and regulatory filing milestones and up to additional $11 million due following the receipt of regulatory approvals and the initiation of commercial sales. In addition, Neoprobe will pay AstraZeneca royalties on net sales of the approved product.
“Licensing this important asset is consistent with the growth strategy to build out our precision radiopharmaceutical pipeline and transform Neoprobe into a leader in the development and commercialization of targeted diagnostic agents,” stated Dr. Mark Pykett, Neoprobe’s President and CEO. “We are encouraged to have secured a high-quality, late-stage asset from a world-class partner for a large and growing disease in a patient community with significant unmet medical need. .”
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a progressive and fatal neurodegenerative disease which affects a person’s memory and ability to learn, reason, communicate and carry out daily activities. Increasing age is the greatest risk factor for AD and there is no prevention or cure. The World Health Organization estimates that Alzheimer’s disease affects over 24,000,000 people worldwide. Currently in the U.S. alone, there are over 5 million Alzheimer’s patients with estimates that by 2050, as many as 16 million Americans could have the disease according to the Alzheimer’s Association. Among the brain changes believed to contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s are the accumulation of the protein beta-amyloid outside nerve cells (neurons) in the brain and the accumulation of the protein tau inside neurons. Approximately 75 to 100 experimental therapies aimed at diagnosing, slowing or stopping the progression of Alzheimer’s are now in human clinical trials.
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide. For more information please visit: www.astrazeneca.com
Neoprobe Corporation (NYSE Amex: NEOP) is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialisation of precision diagnostics and radiopharmaceutical agents. Neoprobe is actively developing three radiopharmaceutical agent platforms – Lymphoseek®, AZD4694 and RIGScanTM CR – to help identify the sites and pathways of undetected disease and enable better diagnostic accuracy, clinical decision-making and ultimately patient care. Neoprobe’s strategy is to deliver superior growth and shareholder return by bringing to market novel radiopharmaceutical agents and advancing the Company’s pipeline through selective acquisitions, global partnering and commercialization efforts. For more information, please visit www.neoprobe.com
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