Dara BioSciences said today it granted exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize its DB959 to T3D Therapeutics, which will reposition the experimental drug to fight Alzheimer’s disease.

Dara said it will receive undisclosed payments that include up-front cash as well as potential revenue tied to development milestones for the renamed T3D-959, which becomes T3D’s lead product candidate.

T3D-959 is an oral, highly selective, dual nuclear receptor agonist whose primary target is peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor delta (PPARd). Dara had developed the drug candidate through Phase I clinical trials for diabetes and dyslipidemia.

“This program no longer fits into the strategic focus of Dara as we have shifted our corporate attention to the commercialization of oncology supportive care products,” David J. Drutz, M.D., Dara’s CEO and CMO, said in a statement.

John Didsbury, Ph.D., T3D’s founder and CEO, said in the statement that because of the “highly competitive” diabetes and dyslipidemia markets, his company concluded T3D-959 would be better positioned as a central nervous system (CNS) therapy.

He founded T3D earlier this year, with the goal of developing and commercializing therapeutics for Alzheimer’s disease and other CNS disorders. Dr. Didsbury said T3D-959 would fight Alzheimer’s by targeting multiple pathologies, including addressing beta amyloid plaque—one of two known hallmarks of the memory-robbing ailment.

“Positive improvements in disease pathologies such as neuro-inflammation, neuronal cell loss, neurotransmitter deficits, tau neurofibrillary tangles, and insulin resistance / lowered cerebral glucose metabolism also are anticipated,” Dr. Didsbury added.

While T3D did not disclose the additional pathologies, several drug developers have shown growing interest in new drugs that combat Alzheimer’s by fighting the disease’s other known hallmark, the accumulation in the brain of tau (or neurofibrillary) protein that blocks the transport of nutrients and essential molecules throughout the cell, leading to neurodegeneration.

As GEN noted earlier this month, the difficulty of combating both tau tangles and beta-amyloid plaque deposits explains why developing Alzheimer’s drugs has proven especially difficult, with the five successful treatments all just slowing progression of symptoms for six to 12 months.

Dara expanded from oncology supportive care into oncology treatment following its January 2012 acquisition of Oncogenerix. Through a license from Rosemont Pharmaceuticals, Dara holds exclusive U.S. marketing rights to Soltamox®, an oral liquid formulation of the breast cancer treatment tamoxifen citrate.

Dara also markets Bionect®, a topical treatment for skin irritation and burns associated with radiation therapy; and oral mucositis treatment Gelclair®, for which Dara holds exclusive U.S. commercial rights through a license from Helsinn Group.

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