AC Immune inks $1.7bn deal with Lilly, strategic partnership with WuXi

By Maggie Lynch

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/ Yok46233042)
(Image: Getty/ Yok46233042)

Related tags Clinical development Strategic partnerships Biologics Alzheimer Alzheimer's disease Central nervous system Small molecule

Eli Lilly and Company and AC Immune have signed an agreement for the research and development of tau aggregation inhibitor small molecules, and AC Immune signed a strategic partnership with WuXi biologics.

AC Immune and Lilly’s partnership will combine AC Immune’s proprietary Morphomer platform technology with Lilly’s commercial and clinical development capabilities. The collaboration with focus on AC’s lead molecule ACI-3024, which demonstrated tau aggregation inhibition in preclinical models.

CEO of AC Immune Andrea Pfeifer told us, “This multi-year licensing and collaboration with Lilly has the potential to produce the first specific small molecule, intracellular, disease-modifying products for patients with hard-to-treat Alzheimer’s disease and other Tauopathies and validates AC Immune’s Tau Morphomer small molecule platform.”

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is believed to develop​ due to events in the brain involving both Tau and another protein known as amyloid-beta. According to Pfeifer, animal models have shown that the reduction of Tau can deliver cognitive and functional improvement in AD and other neurodegenerative diseases.

Per the agreement, Lilly will be responsible for funding and conducting further clinical development and will receive worldwide commercialization rights for the tau aggregation inhibitors used for the treatment of AD.

AC Immune will retain development rights of the tau inhibitor in orphan indications and will continue to co-develop and co-promote options for treatment outside Alzheimer’s disease.

According to AC Immune, this deal has the potential to reach up to $1.7bn in development, regulatory and commercial milestones.

‘Critical success’ through partnerships

More recently, AC Immune also announced a strategic partnership with WuXi Biologics, through which it will access the company’s biologics platform.

Under the terms of the agreement, AC Immune will leverage WuXi’s capabilities in the manufacturing and supply of treatments for central nervous system diseases.

Chris Chen, CEO of WuXi Biologics, said in a press release that the partnership, “tackles technical hurdles of conventional bispecific platforms and tremendously reduces the cost of making these biologics, which is critical for the success of biologics in treating CNS disorders.”

Through this collaboration, AC Immune gains priority access to WuXi’s bispecific antibody platform. Both companies are set to work together to use AC Immune’s platform to treat non-CNS diseases by generating novel candidates using the company’s antibody platform.

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