In its first licensing deal, Google-backed biotech firm Calico has inked an agreement with Dallas-based investment firm 2M Companies to develop and commercialize P7C3 compounds resulting from a UT Southwestern Medical Center research program to treat neurodegenerative disorders caused by the aging and death of nerve cells. 

UT Southwestern licensed the compounds to 2M Companies back in 2010. Per this new agreement, 2M is granting Calico an exclusive worldwide license to the P7C3 program and other NAMPT modulators in exchange for an undisclosed upfront fee, milestones, and royalty payments. Calico will be funding research laboratories in the Dallas area and elsewhere to support the program.

P7C3 compounds are a class that reportedly has been shown to help in animal models of age-related neurocognitive impairment, Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and depression. Researchers from UT Southwestern on September 11 published a paper in Cell showing that these drugs activate a cellular enzyme involved in energy metabolism called NAMPT (nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase), which is said to be critical to cell function and survival. A different paper also published September 11 in Cell Reports, Calico says, shows that the P7C3 compounds protect against brain dysfunction when given to rodents following traumatic injury.

“We look forward to working with the world-leading scientists who discovered the P7C3 class of molecules to learn whether the remarkable biological effects can be translated to the treatment of human disease,” Hal V. Barron, M.D., president of R&D at Calico, said in a statement.

Calico appears to be on a roll, as this deal comes a little more than a week after the aging-focused firm entered a $1.5 billion collaboration with AbbVie with the aim of discovering, developing, and bringing to market new therapies for patients with neurodegeneration and cancer, as well as other age-related diseases. A new R&D site in the San Francisco Bay Area will be created as part of the deal.

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