The deal is another step towards taking RAGE modulators to commercialisation. This drug target is a member of the immunoglobulin super family of cell surface molecules with a variety of ligands that are associated with different diseases.
Ligands of RAGE and their associated diseases include amyloid fibrils. The advanced glycation end products (AGEs) have also been implicated in diabetes and renal insufficiency.
Under the terms of the agreement, TransTech will receive upfront and near-term milestone payments of $155m (€122m) and the potential for significant additional milestone payments. TransTech will also receive royalties on worldwide sales of products.
Meanwhile, Pfizer will provide TransTech additional funding during the research term to support continued expansion of the RAGE portfolio.
"We are extremely pleased and excited to be partnering our RAGE platform with Pfizer," said Adnan Mjalli, founder, president and chief executive officer of TransTech Pharma.
"Pfizer's commitment in multiple therapeutic areas coupled with their expertise and experience in the development and commercialisation of new medicines, especially for the treatment of central nervous system diseases, were factors in our decision to go with Pfizer," he added.
Current drug treatments for Alzheimer's have been shown to benefit patients to a degree. However, none are a cure.
Treatments include the Cholinesterase inhibitors including donepezil (Aricept), galantamine (Reminyl) and rivastigmine (Exelon) and NMDA receptor antagonists, such as memantine (Ebixa).
Neuroleptics, also known as anti-psychotics or major tranquillisers are a viable treatment although these drugs are only used as a last resort when other methods have failed.
Additional terms of the collaboration will see Pfizer gain exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialise TransTech's portfolio of RAGE modulators.
The pipeline includes TTP488, an orally available small-molecule compound that has completed a Phase 2a study in Alzheimer's patients and is currently in a Phase II study in patients with diabetic nephropathy; and TTP4000, a large-molecule compound that is expected to enter Phase I clinical trials before the end of 2006.
"This agreement is an important step in neurosciences research and the development of new medicines for patients whose lives are impacted by Alzheimer's disease and other disorders," said Martin Mackay, Pfizer senior vice president, Worldwide Research and Technology.
"As a world leader in Alzheimer's disease therapy, we understand the need for new treatment options for this debilitating disease which takes an enormous toll on our aging and elderly population."