ARTICLE | Product Development

New tack on tau

Merck, Alectos partner to develop new way to tackle tau in Alzheimer's

August 16, 2010 7:00 AM UTC

Merck & Co. Inc. has signed on to a novel way of tackling tau, a key component of the neurofibrillary tangles in Alzheimer's disease. Last week the pharma unveiled a co-development deal with Alectos Therapeutics Inc., which is developing modulators of O-linked N-acetylglucosaminidase, an enzyme that has shown potential for blocking hyperphosphorylation of tau. The deal could be worth up to $289 million.

Microtubule-associated protein-t (MAPT; tau; FTDP-17) stabilizes axonal microtubules that normally facilitate intracellular neuronal trafficking. In neurodegenerative diseases, it undergoes aberrant phosphorylation and loses its ability to maintain the structures of microtubules, eventually aggregating into filaments and neurofibrillary tangles...