Boehringer scoops schizophrenia candidates for €627.5m

pharmafile | December 19, 2017 | News story | Manufacturing and Production, Sales and Marketing Autifony, Boehringer Ingelheim, biotech, drugs, pharma, pharmaceutical 

Boehringer Ingelheim has moved early to secure an exclusive option on Autifony’s lead candidate for the treatment of schizophrenia, AUT00206, as well as other unspecified compounds.

Autifony, a spin-out from GSK, has developed its portfolio by focusing on Kv3 ion channel, which had originally been a target for treating hearing loss but has also shown potential for people living with schizophrenia.

Boehringer will pay Autifony a €25 million upfront fee, with a further payment of up to €17.5 million based upon short term milestones. The total potential worth of the deal could be as much as €627.5 million, should Boehringer Ingelheim exercise its option on the Autifony’s candidates.

The biotech’s lead drug, AUT00206, is currently being studied in two Phase Ib trials; the company has suggested that preclinical studies have shown potential for the candidate to treat cognitive and negative symptoms of the schizophrenia, with fewer negative side-effects.

Charles Large, CEO of Autifony Therapeutics said: “Autifony has pioneered the development of Kv3.1/3.2 modulators for the treatment of schizophrenia, Fragile X syndrome, and disorders of hearing. Our compounds have the potential to change the treatment paradigm for these disorders, and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with Boehringer Ingelheim, who will bring valuable expertise and resources as we progress through the next phases of clinical and non-clinical development.”

He continued: “We are also grateful for the support from Innovate UK’s Biomedical Catalyst, which has enabled a highly successful collaboration between Autifony, the Universities of Manchester and Newcastle, and the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at Kings College London.”

Autifony has reached this point through the funding of Pfizer and SV Life Sciences in 2015.

For its part, Boehringer suggested that the deal aligns with its own work in drug discovery for neuropsychiatric diseases.

Ben Hargreaves

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