AC Immune’s Anti-Tau antibody for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease has reached Phase II, prompting milestone payments from Genentech.
Today, the first patient in a Phase II trial was dosed with AC Immune’s anti-Tau antibody for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. This triggered a milestone payment of CHF 14M (€12M) from its collaborator, Genentech, as part of an agreement worth more than CHF400M (€384M). AC Immune recently achieved an IPO of €52.5M on the NASDAQ and its market cap stands at $683M (€585M). The Phase II study will determine the antibody’s efficacy and safety.
AC Immune’s anti-Tau monoclonal antibody is based on the company’s SupraAntigen technology. They are generated by injecting the SupraAntigen constructs into mice and selecting antibodies that break up aggregated forms of misfolded proteins. The anti-Tau antibody has a high specificity for abnormal forms of the Tau protein and catches it as it moves in the extracellular space of the brain.
Within the Alzheimer’s field, it remains hotly debated whether abnormal tau proteins or amyloid-beta is the best approach to treating the disease. Tau proteins accumulate inside brain cells and then spread, while amyloid-beta forms plaques and oligomers around the outside of brain cells. But, AC Immune has covered all bases by also developing a SupraAntigen against amyloid-beta, Crenezumab, which is currently undergoing two phase III clinical trials.
Despite notable failures from Eli Lilly and Merck, AC Immune has chosen continue pursuing an antibody approach for the treatment of Alzheimer’s. The company has chosen a field that is searching frantically for a treatment or cure for a disease that is rapidly increasing in prevalence. Araclon Biotech’s vaccine and Probiodrug’s drug to prevent the formation of amyloid-beta plaques are currently offering some hope to the field.
Media – Orawan Pattarawimonchai / shutterstock.com; AC Immune