Boston-based startup Lyndra said today that it is partnering with pharma giant Allergan (NYSE:AGN) to develop orally administered, once-weekly products for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
The collaboration will combine Allergan’s proprietary Alzheimer’s drugs with Lyndra’s sustained-release technology, which is designed to temporarily reside in the stomach for up to one week while delivering a drug.
According to the deal, Allergan is slated to pay $15 million upfront to Lyndra, with the potential for an additional $90 million in development and regulatory milestones. The deal also leaves room for Allergan to select an additional compound, from any therapeutic category, for inclusion in the collaboration.
The partnership with Allergan is Lyndra’s largest deal to date.
“I am delighted that we have the opportunity to work so closely with the scientific team at Allergan to bring caregiver and patient innovation to this critical illness,” Lyndra CEO Amy Schulman said in prepared remarks. “The chance to minimize the struggle with the daily pill can make a real difference to patients and their caregivers, ease the burden of medication compliance and simplify the day-to-day challenges of chronic conditions. As a team, we at Lyndra are deeply committed to making a difference in how people get well and our ultra-long-acting sustained release technology is built on the premise that a once-weekly oral pill will make a real difference in disease treatment and prevention.”
“As a leader in Alzheimer’s treatment, Allergan is committed to developing new approaches that further reduce the burden of treatment for patients and their caregivers,” Allergan’s SVP of pharmaceutical development, Sesha Neervanan, added. “In addition to its potential application in Alzheimer’s disease treatment, we are excited by the potential for these technologies that could unlock a paradigm shift in the treatment of other conditions where less frequent administration is critical to improving compliance and patient care.”
Lyndra’s technology, developed by Robert Langer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is a star-shaped pill loaded with drugs that remains in the gastric cavity after it been swallowed. After the drugs have been released, the pill splits into small pieces and safely passes through the GI tract, according to Lyndra.
“The astounding reality is that while there are so many effective, life-saving treatments available, nearly 50% of patients don’t adhere to their medication regimens which leads to avoidable negative health outcomes and pre-mature deaths,” Langer said. “We are delighted that Allergan shares in our vision of developing novel, long-acting technologies that transform how patients take medicine and take full advantage of available treatments.”
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