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Jan 03, 2011
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Biogen's aggregation play

Biogen nabs three Neurimmune mAbs for Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and ALS

Biogen Idec Inc.'s purchase of three preclinical mAbs from Neurimmune Therapeutics AG is a bet on a new theory of neurodegenerative disease in which extracellular forms of aggregated proteins spread disease throughout the brain, making them prime mAb targets.

Neurimmune hunts for naturally occurring antibodies in disease-resistant patients and tests them for protective effects in animal models of neurodegenerative disease (see BioCentury, Dec. 3, 2007).

One new mAb targets alpha synuclein (SNCA), and another targets TAR DNA binding protein 43 (TDP-43; TARDBP), two aggregation-prone proteins thought to underlie Parkinson's disease (PD) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), respectively.

TDP-43 also forms aggregates in frontotemporal dementia (FTD), the next most common type of early onset dementia after Alzheimer's disease (AD) (see Science-Business eXchange, Sept. 16, 2010).

The third mAb targets microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT; tau; FTDP-17), an aggregating protein implicated in AD.

Biogen paid Neurimmune $32.5 million up front and could pay up to $395 million in milestones. The big biotech plans to begin additional...

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