Prothena Corporation plc , a late-stage clinical biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel therapies in the neuroscience and orphan categories, today announced a global collaboration with Celgene Corporation through a subsidiary, to develop new therapies for a broad range of neurodegenerative diseases.
The multi-year research and development collaboration is focused on three proteins implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases, including tau, TDP-43 and an undisclosed target. For each of the programs, Celgene has an exclusive right to license clinical candidates in the U.S. at the investigational new drug (IND) filing and if exercised, would also have a right to expand the license to global rights at the completion of Phase 1.
Following the exercise of global rights, Celgene will be responsible for funding all further global clinical development and commercialization. Under the terms of the collaboration, Prothena will receive a $100 million upfront payment and a $50 million equity investment by Celgene, plus future potential exercise payments and regulatory and commercial milestones for each licensed program. Prothena will also receive additional royalties on net sales of any resulting marketed products.
“Prothena has a legacy of innovation in neuroscience and a team with a deep understanding of biological approaches that target protein misfolding disorders. Our collaboration leverages each company’s core expertise in protein homeostasis and protein clearance to target proteins that are the underlying cause of many neurodegenerative and orphan diseases. The programs we have chosen to collaborate on have the potential to provide foundational assets from which we can build new therapeutic approaches to these currently untreatable neurological disorders” said Richard Hargreaves, PhD, Corporate Vice President Neuroscience and Imaging for Celgene.
“We are excited to be working with Celgene, a leading global biopharmaceutical company with deep expertise in targeting critical biological pathways involved in protein homeostasis and an extensive track record of successfully bringing forward innovative new therapies based on this biology,” said Gene Kinney, PhD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Prothena. “As we build our pipeline of novel therapies across the neuroscience and orphan disease categories, this collaboration provides Prothena the opportunity to work with a premier scientific partner and the resources and flexibility to advance these programs while continuing to expand our proprietary discovery activities and further supports our efforts to deliver a diversified pipeline of therapies to alter the course of devastating diseases.”
Collaboration Agreement Overview
Prothena will receive an upfront payment and equity investment, and is eligible to receive exercise payments and regulatory and commercial milestones, plus additional royalties on net sales based on the following collaboration deal terms:
Prothena will receive an upfront payment of $100 million
Celgene will make a $50 million equity investment in Prothena by subscribing to approximately 1.2 million of Prothena’s ordinary shares at $42.57 per share
For programs reaching commercialization, Prothena will receive tiered royalties on net sales
The targets encompassed in this collaboration are implicated in the pathogenesis of several neurodegenerative diseases for which there are no current disease modifying therapies, including the following:
Tau, a protein implicated in diseases including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP), frontotemporal dementia (FTD), chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) and other tauopathies. Prothena has identified antibodies targeting novel epitopes on the tau protein with the ability to block misfolded tau from binding to cells and to inhibit cell-to-cell transmission, preventing downstream functional toxic effects.
TDP-43, a protein implicated in diseases including amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and the most common subtype of FTD, behavioral variant FTD (bvFTD), a proportion of AD and other TDP-43 proteinopathies. Prothena has generated antibodies that target multiple epitopes on the TDP-43 protein and is using proprietary in vitro screening methodology to select those that may be the most potent and efficacious in inhibiting toxicity and cell-to-cell transmission of misfolded TDP-43 species.
Citi is acting as financial advisor to Prothena and Latham & Watkins LLP is acting as legal counsel to Prothena. Morgan Lewis is acting as legal counsel to Celgene.