UCB signs Parkinson’s research deal

pharmafile | October 12, 2010 | News story | Research and Development Parkinson's, Synosia Therapeutics, UCB, neurology 

UCB has partnered with Synosia Therapeutics to develop two of the Swiss firm’s compounds for Parkinson’s disease. 

Basel-based Synosia has granted UCB a license for exclusive, worldwide rights to its two most advanced compounds SYN-115 and SYN-118, both of which are currently in phase II trials.

Under the agreement, UCB will make an equity investment totaling $20 million and Synosia will also receive an undisclosed upfront payment.

Dr Ian Massey, chief executive and president of Synosia Therapeutics, said: “UCB is an ideal partner for us given their global capabilities and presence in the field of neurology and their demonstrated ability to form innovative and effective partnerships.

“Given the novel mechanisms and encouraging results for SYN-115 and SYN-118, as well as the financial structure of our agreement with UCB, this partnership has the potential to be a big value driver for Synosia while providing valuable new therapies for patients with movement disorders.”

The alliance, which will also see two UCB representatives join Synosia’s board, could be worth receive a total of $725 million across both compounds to the smaller company once potential regulatory and commercial milestone payments are taken into account.

Dr Ismail Kola, executive VP of drug discovery and president of UCB new medicines, said: “We are impressed with Synosia’s development capabilities and the possibility of expanding our alliance in the future.

“With access to these two potentially important new treatments for people living with movement disorders, UCB reinforces its intention to become the patient-centric biopharmaceutical leader in neurology and immunology.”

SYN-115 is an orally-bioavailable adenosine 2A (A2a) antagonist, which enters the brain and activates regions with motor and non-motor function.

Synosia obtained rights to SYN-115 from Roche in 2007 and has rights to development in all indications.

SYN-118 is a potent and selective inhibitor of hydroxyphenylpyruvate dioxygenase (HPPD), an enzyme responsible for the catabolism of tyrosine, the precursor of the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Dopamine plays an important role in motor function control; decreased dopamine production in the brain causes many of the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. 

Synosia licensed SYN-118 from Syngenta in 2007 with rights for development and commercialisation in non-orphan diseases. 

SYN-118 is a 4 hydroxyphenyl-pyruvate dioxygenase inhibitor, which is marketed as Orfadin in the non-competing indication of hereditary tyrosinemia by Swedish Orphan.

Ben Adams

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