2022-06-07| Licensing

Alectos Promised $722 Million in Parkinson’s Collab With Biogen

by Joy Lin
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Biogen is betting more than $700 million on Alectos Therapeutics’ AL01811, a preclinical small molecule GBA2 inhibitor, as a potential disease-modifying approach for Parkinson’s disease. The deal will combine Alectos’ expertise in small-molecule therapeutics with Biogen’s extensive experience in movement disorders. 

Under the deal, Alectos will grant an exclusive global license to AL01811 to Biogen, as well as additional undisclosed backup molecules. 

Alectos will receive an upfront payment of $15 million, while much of the $722 million is locked away in milestones — $77.5 million in development payments and the remaining $630 million in commercial goals. If AL01811 successfully enters the market, Alectos could also receive tiered royalties in the “high-single-digits to mid-teens”. 

Related article: Learning From the COVID-19 Pandemic With Moderna CEO, Stéphane Bancel


Treatments Focusing on Lysosomal Function in Parkinson’s


There are currently no approved disease modifying therapies for Parkinson’s disease, which affects around 10 million patients worldwide.

Lysosomes, organelles that contain digestive enzymes within a membrane, may play a key role in the pathology of neurodegenerative disease. AL01811 is designed to slow down the progression of Parkinson’s disease by inhibiting GBA2, which will potentially lower lysosomal pH and boost levels of the lysosomal proton pump vATPase. The pump is involved in maintaining the acidic pH required for lysosomal function. 

Alectos’ approach should not be confused with the similarly named Alector Therapeutics, which is collaborating with GlaxoSmithKline in a $2.2 billion deal to restore levels of another key regulator of lysosomal function, progranulin. Restoring progranulin levels is also the goal of Arkuda Therapeutics, which has been granted funding by the Michael J. Fox Foundation to start preclinical studies of its progranulin modulators in Parkinson’s disease.

Also targeting the lysosome for a subpopulation of Parkinson’s is Caraway Therapeutics, which has partnered with AbbVie to target TMEM175, a potassium ion channel critical to lysosomal function.

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