Firm will develop AZD4694, with AstraZeneca retaining right to use radiotracer in development of Alzheimer disease therapeutics.

Neoprobe paid AstraZeneca $5 million up front for a license to the latter’s late-stage radiopharmaceutical imaging candidate AZD4694, for use in positron emission tomography (PET) diagnostic imaging of amyloid plaques in Alzheimer disease patients. Under terms of the deal Neoprobe will take on clinical development and commercialization of the fluorine-18-labelled radiotracer, and expects to start a Phase III clinical program during early 2013.

AstraZeneca could receive another $6.5 million in development and regulatory filings, plus up to $11 million on achievement of regulatory approvals and the start of commercial sales. The firm retains the right to use AZD4694 in clinical trials supporting the development of potential treatments for Alzheimer disease.  

“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 disease in the future,” remarks Christer Köhler, vp and head of CNS & pain innovative medicines at AstraZeneca.

Neoprobe is focused on the development and commercialization of diagnostics and radiopharmaceutical agents. The firm markets its gamma detection systems, detector probes, and accessories for use in intraoperative lymphatic mapping (ILM), or sentinel lymph node biopsy, a minimally invasive technique for evaluating the potential spread of cancer to lymph node tissues and organs. The firm’s development programs are centered on exploiting its radiopharmaceutical agent platforms  Lymphoseek® and RIGScan™ CR. Lymphoseek is a radioactive tracing agent being developed for use with gamma detection devices in ILM procedures. Neoprobe has licensed the Lymphoseek IP from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD), which has already carried out a number of Phase I studies with the agent.

The RIGS system combines the firm’s hand-held gamma radiation detection probe and radiolabeled cancer-specific monoclonal antibodies, for locating tumor deposits that can’t be detected by conventional methods.

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