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Elan signs $20m research deal with Proteostasis

Published on 25/05/11 at 10:50am

Elan Corporation has signed a deal with US small molecule drug specialist Proteostasis Therapeutics to develop products for conditions such as Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.

The Dublin-based biotech firm has put $20 million into Proteostasis’ equity capital with the option of providing $30 million more over the next five years – and in return it becomes a 24% shareholder in Proteostasis.

The US company develops proteostasis regulators, small molecule drugs that restore protein function or remove misfolded proteins in order to treat neurodegenerative, metabolic, genetic and inflammatory disorders.

The hope is that they can be used in Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, MS and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, plus various dementia-related diseases.

Proteostasis’ work is based on the idea that disturbances to proteostasis network pathways underpin a wide variety of diseases, including cystic fibrosis.

“This alliance recognises our progress to date and provides an opportunity to further advance Proteostasis’ novel drug discovery platform,” said Peter Reinhart, president and chief scientific officer of Proteostasis.

“Elan’s proprietary disease models and development expertise will enable us to accelerate our programmes, each of which has the potential for developing therapeutics to treat multiple neurodegenerative diseases,” he added.

Earlier this month the Irish neuroscience specialist sold its Elan Drug Technologies unit to US drug delivery specialist Alkermes for $500 million in cash and $460 million in shares.

Elan chief executive Kelly Martin said the Proteostasis deal represents a good deal for shareholders.

“Importantly, and given the construct of the deal as a capital investment, this transaction is being consummated in a manner that will have a minimal near-term financial impact on our income statement,” Martin insisted.

Elan has a right of first negotiation to exclusively licence compounds that spring from the deal and will also have a seat on the Proteostasis board of directors and its scientific advisory board.

Elan’s chief scientific officer Dale Schenk and head of research Ted Yednock said the agreement would complement and add to the company’s own research on neurodegenerative disorders.

“This initiative enables us to simultaneously expand possible targets and accelerate our progress in bringing science to patients, as we believe that this area is central for further scientific and clinical advancements,” they concluded.

Adam Hill

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