Teijin to enter tau-targeting license agreement with Merck

The worldwide agreement covers investigational antibody candidate targeting the tau protein

MAP tau stained in red. Credit: GerryShaw, via Wikimedia Commons

Teijin Pharma has entered into a license agreement with Merck (MSD outside N.America) for the development, manufacture and commercialisation of an investigational preclinical antibody candidate targeting tau protein.

Changes in tau are associated with a number of diseases of the nervous system, including Alzheimer’s disease.

Two pathological changes in the brain are considered the cause of Alzheimer’s disease: senile plaques due to the extracellular deposition of amyloid ß peptide and neurofibrillary tangles resulting from intracellular accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau proteins.

The antibody

The novel antibody generated by Teijin Pharma is designed to bind to hyperphosphorylated tau proteins and will be investigated for its ability to inhibit the progression of symptoms of dementia. The development of antibodies targeting tau proteins is attracting a great deal of attention.

As the population ages, demand for new treatments for Alzheimer’s disease is growing. The number of dementia patients is predicted to reach nearly 75 million in 2030 and 131.5 million in 2050 worldwide.

Teijin aims to promote alliances for products developed in-house, as well as expand drug discovery.

The agreement

Under the terms of this agreement, Merck will have exclusive world-wide rights to develop, manufacture and commercialise the anti-tau antibody.

In exchange, Merck will make an upfront payment to Teijin Pharma, who is also eligible to receive development, regulatory and sales milestone payments.

In addition, Teijin Pharma will receive royalties on product sales and retain an option to co-promote an approved product in Japan.

Akihisa Nabeshima, President of Teijin Pharma, said: “Merck’s strong neuroscience expertise makes it well suited to maximise the potential of this candidate.”

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