AbbVie Partners to Develop Immune Drug for Alzheimer's disease

Growing evidence suggests immune deficiencies in the central nervous system are involved with Alzheimer’s disease.

AbbVie recently announced an alliance with biotechnology company Alector to develop and commercialize a novel class of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative conditions, according to a press release.

While there are several drugs on the market that improve the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, there are none that can cure the disease or slow progression. Due to the growing burden of the disease, new treatment methods are severely needed.

Immuno-neurology is a new drug class that harnesses the immune system to launch an attack against neurodegenerative conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease. The partnership aims to expand this drug class and potentially develop a novel therapy for Alzheimer’s disease.

AbbVie reports that there is growing evidence from human and animal studies that suggest immune deficiencies in the central nervous system are involved with neurodegenerative conditions and progression.

Alector has created an immuno-neurology platform that tackles several factors associated with neurodegeneration, according to the release.

"Alzheimer's is among the most difficult-to-treat diseases and there is an urgent need for new scientific approaches that lead to better therapies for patients," said Jim Sullivan, PhD, vice president, pharmaceutical discovery, AbbVie. "Alector's unique approach to engaging the immune system to combat neurodegeneration reflects our commitment to target this epidemic in new ways. We recognized the potential of Alector's research first as an AbbVie Ventures portfolio company and are now eager to partner with them to further develop this platform into meaningful advances for patients."

Under the partnership, the companies will research antibody targets for Alzheimer’s disease.

Alector will conduct research, drug discovery, and development for programs up to the conclusion of studies, while AbbVie will lead development and commercialization efforts, according to the release.

The companies will co-fund the development and commercialization of potential new drugs. Alector will receive $205 million upfront and may receive an additional $20 million, according to AbbVie.

"We seek to advance the field of immuno-neurology as a new therapeutic modality for dementia and neurodegeneration. We anticipate that immuno-neurology therapies will have as much of an impact on brain disorders as immuno-oncology is having on cancer," said Arnon Rosenthal PhD, chief executive officer, Alector. "We look forward to co-developing our disease-modifying drugs in true partnership with AbbVie, which is making a bold commitment to the field."