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GEN News Highlights : Jun 18, 2012

Genentech Taps AC Immune in Second Alzheimer Drug Development Deal

AC Immune could make up to CHF 400 million in up-front and milestone fees.

AC Immune entered into an exclusive, worldwide license agreement and research collaboration with Genentech related to its anti-Tau antibodies for Alzheimer disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. AC Immune will receive an undisclosed up-front payment and is eligible to receive research, development, and commercialization milestone payments totaling more than CHF 400 million (approximately $419.78 million).

Additionally, AC Immune is eligible to receive royalties on net sales of products resulting from the collaboration. Under the multiyear joint research collaboration, AC Immune will work in partnership with Genentech to identify and formulate several preclinical candidates. Genentech will have global responsibility for preclinical and clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization of antibodies resulting from the collaboration.

“The addition of this anti-Tau program to our CNS pipeline complements other approaches we are investigating, including crenezumab, which we in-licensed from AC Immune in 2006,” notes James Sabry, Genentech’s vp of partnering.

The anti-Tau antibodies were discovered and humanized by AC Immune through its proprietary SupraAntigen technology. “The anti-tau antibodies have proven highly specific to misfolded Tau in relevant animal models for Alzheimer disease and are therefore well suited to be developed as a disease-modifying drug,” explains Andreas Muhs, CSO of AC Immune.

"We are delighted to continue our excellent relationship with Genentech through this second landmark deal to fight Alzheimer disease,” comments Andrea Pfeifer, CEO of AC Immune. “This underlines Genentech’s trust in AC Immune’s technology platform, and we are confident in our joint abilities to develop not only first-in-class but also best-in-class medication for one of the biggest healthcare problems of this century.”

An anti-Abeta antibody, crenezumab was discovered and humanized by AC Immune. It is designed to bind to amyloid beta (Abeta), the main constituent of amyloid plaque in the brains of patients with Alzheimer disease. Genentech is currently evaluating crenezumab in a Phase II study in patients with mild-to-moderate symptoms. At the time the deal with Genentech was announced in December 2006, it was stated to have a potential total value of more than $300 million in clinical and regulatory milestone payments to AC Immune, excluding royalties.

In May 2012, crenezumab was selected to be tested in the world’s first-ever prevention trial in individuals who are genetically destined to develop Alzheimer disease. This study is being run by the NIH, the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute, the University of Antioquia in Colombia, and Genentech.