Amicus Therapeutics said today it will partner with Biogen Idec to discover small molecules that fight Parkinson’s disease by targeting the lysosomal enzyme glucocerobrosidase (GCase) enzyme, with the biotech giant overseeing their further development and commercialization. The value of the multiyear collaboration was not disclosed.

Biogen Idec agreed to fund all discovery, development, and commercialization activities, as well as reimburse Amicus for all full-time employees working on the project. Amicus is also eligible to receive from Biogen Idec payments based on undisclosed development and regulatory milestones, as well as what it termed “modest” royalties on global net sales.

The payments will be welcomed be Amicus, which earlier this year delayed the filing of a new drug application for migalastat Hcl for Fabry disease pending completion of and additional data from two ongoing Phase III trials.

Amicus said the collaboration will build upon its own preclinical studies and independent published research over the past decade, both suggesting that increasing activity of GCase in the brain may correct alpha-synuclein pathology and other deficits associated with Parkinson’s disease. The research has demonstrated a link between GCase deficiency and the accumulation of alpha-synuclein in Lewy bodies in the brain, a hallmark of Parkinson’s. As a result, improved lysosomal targeting of GCase and increasing enzyme activity may be a beneficial therapeutic approach for Parkinson’s disease and other synucleinopathies.

“Our collaboration with Amicus complements our current strategy to identify and develop novel therapies to address Parkinson’s disease,” Tim Harris, Biogen Idec’s svp of translational medicine, said in a statement.

A few years back, Biogen Idec had joined Vernalis in trying to develop an experimental drug for Parkinson’s. But in 2010, the companies scuttled a six-year collaboration to develop the drug candidate vipadenant, an A2A receptor antagonist also known as V2006 and BIIBO14, in favor of an alternative compound, after preclinical toxicology studies of the drug raised issues related to side effects.

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