AbbVie and Voyager Therapeutics Announce Collaboration to Develop Vectorized Antibodies to Treat Parkinson’s Disease and Other Synucleinopathies

Deal expands collaborative efforts on vectorized antibodies to target pathological species of alpha-synuclein 
– Voyager to receive $65 million upfront and up to $245 million in preclinical and Phase 1 option payments as well as potential development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments and royalties
AbbVie (NYSE: ABBV), a global biopharmaceutical company, and Voyager Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: VYGR), a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing life-changing treatments for severe neurological diseases, today announced an exclusive, global strategic collaboration and option agreement to develop and commercialize vectorized antibodies directed at pathological species of alpha-synuclein for the potential treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other diseases (synucleinopathies) characterized by the abnormal accumulation of misfolded alpha-synuclein protein.
The delivery of sufficient quantities of antibodies across the blood-brain barrier is one of the major limitations of current biologic therapies for neurodegenerative diseases that require frequent systemic injections with large amounts of antibodies. Voyager’s vectorized antibody platform and approach aims to circumvent this limitation by delivering, with a potential, one-time intravenous administration, the genes that encode for the production of therapeutic antibodies utilizing Voyager’s blood-brain barrier penetrant adeno-associated virus (AAV) capsids. This approach could result in the potential for higher levels of therapeutic antibodies in the brain compared with current systemic administration of antibodies.
“The expansion of AbbVie’s partnership with Voyager represents the potential we see in the ability of its vectorized antibody platform to surpass the blood-brain barrier and more effectively deliver biologic therapies,” said Jim Summers, Ph.D., vice president, discovery neuroscience research, AbbVie. “We are hopeful that Voyager’s technology will enable further development of transformative treatments for patients with neurodegenerative diseases.”
“Our scientific platform allows us to develop unique AAV gene therapies that are designed to knock down disease-causing gene expression, increase the expression of missing proteins, or enable the expression of therapeutic antibodies through vectorization,” said Andre Turenne, president and chief executive officer of Voyager Therapeutics. “We are excited to expand our efforts towards pathological species of alpha-synuclein given its role in the progression of disease, and AbbVie is the ideal partner to advance this new target and therapeutic modality.”
Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disorder worldwide. A hallmark of Parkinson’s disease is the accumulation of misfolded alpha-synuclein that can eventually lead to the formation of protein deposits and progressive neurodegeneration. Approaches to interfere with this process could potentially delay the progression of Parkinson’s disease and other synucleinopathies including Lewy Body Dementia and multiple system atrophy.
Details of the Alpha-Synuclein Collaboration and Financial Terms
Under the terms of the collaboration and option agreement, Voyager will perform research and preclinical development work to vectorize antibodies directed against alpha-synuclein that are designated by AbbVie, after which AbbVie may select one or more vectorized antibodies to advance into IND-enabling studies and clinical development. Voyager will be responsible for the research, IND-enabling and Phase 1 clinical activities and costs. Following completion of Phase 1 clinical development, AbbVie has an option to license the vectorized alpha-synuclein antibody program for further clinical development and global commercialization for indications including Parkinson’s disease and other synucleinopathies.
Voyager will receive an upfront cash payment of $65 million and has the potential to earn up to $245 million in preclinical and Phase 1 option payments. Voyager is also eligible to receive up to an additional $728 million in potential development and regulatory milestone payments for each alpha-synuclein vectorized antibody compound.  Voyager is eligible to receive tiered royalties on the global commercial net sales of each alpha-synuclein vectorized antibody and may also earn up to a total of $500 million in commercial milestones.
About AbbVie
AbbVie is a global, research-driven biopharmaceutical company committed to developing innovative advanced therapies for some of the world’s most complex and critical conditions. The company’s mission is to use its expertise, dedicated people and unique approach to innovation to markedly improve treatments across four primary therapeutic areas: immunology, oncology, virology and neuroscience. In more than 75 countries, AbbVie employees are working every day to advance health solutions for people around the world. For more information about AbbVie, please visit us at www.abbvie.com. Follow @abbvie on Twitter, FacebookLinkedIn or Instagram.
About Voyager Therapeutics
Voyager Therapeutics is a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing life-changing treatments for severe neurological diseases. Voyager is committed to advancing the field of AAV gene therapy through innovation and investment in vector engineering and optimization, manufacturing and dosing and delivery techniques. Voyager’s pipeline focuses on severe neurological diseases in need of effective new therapies, including Parkinson’s disease, a monogenic form of ALS called SOD1, Huntington’s disease, Friedreich’s ataxia, neurodegenerative diseases related to defective or excess aggregation of tau protein in the brain including Alzheimer’s disease and severe, chronic pain. Voyager has strategic collaborations with Sanofi Genzyme, AbbVie and Neurocrine Biosciences.  Founded by scientific and clinical leaders in the fields of AAV gene therapy, expressed RNA interference and neuroscience, Voyager Therapeutics is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information on Voyager Therapeutics, please visit the company’s website at www.voyagertherapeutics.com or follow @VoyagerTx on Twitter and LinkedIn.
About Voyager Therapeutics
Voyager Therapeutics is a clinical-stage gene therapy company focused on developing life-changing treatments for severe neurological diseases. Voyager is committed to advancing the field of AAV gene therapy through innovation and investment in vector engineering and optimization, manufacturing and dosing and delivery techniques. Voyager’s pipeline focuses on severe neurological diseases in need of effective new therapies, including Parkinson’s disease, a monogenic form of ALS called SOD1, Huntington’s disease, Friedreich’s ataxia, neurodegenerative diseases related to defective or excess aggregation of tau protein in the brain including Alzheimer’s disease and severe, chronic pain. Voyager has strategic collaborations with Sanofi Genzyme, AbbVie and Neurocrine Biosciences.  Founded by scientific and clinical leaders in the fields of AAV gene therapy, expressed RNA interference and neuroscience, Voyager Therapeutics is headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts. For more information on Voyager Therapeutics, please visit the company’s website at www.voyagertherapeutics.com or follow @VoyagerTx on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Vartika Singh

Vartika Singh is a content writer who loves to write research articles and reports at PharmaShots. She has in-depth knowledge of the life sciences industry including the Pharma and Biotech sectors. Any articles written by her can be contacted at connect@pharmashots.com.

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