Mission, Abbvie Partner to Develop DUB Enzyme Inhibitors for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s

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by Alice Melão |

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Mission Therapeutics and AbbVie have established a new partnership aimed at developing specific inhibitors targeting deubiquitylating enzymes, or DUBs, for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.

DUBs are a large family of important enzymes that regulate the protein degradation process, some of which are involved in the destruction of misfolded and potentially toxic proteins known to be associated with human diseases.

Although DUBs represent an attractive therapeutic target for several disorders, development of potent inhibitors suitable for clinical use has been a challenge due to issues linked to specificity and selectivity.

Mission has developed a discovery platform focused on overcoming these limitations and identifying small-molecule DUB inhibitors that could work in the brain, enabling degradation of damaging proteins.

“There is an urgent need for new treatments that will make a positive impact on the lives of patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Mission’s scientists have developed impressive early research toward the understanding of these diseases. Together, we will work to advance this early science and develop meaningful therapies,” James B. Summers, PhD, vice president of neuroscience discovery research at AbbVie, said in a press release.

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Under the terms of the new partnership, Mission and AbbVie will collaborate during the discovery stage to identify specific DUBs and compounds of interest for further preclinincal evaluation.

AbbVie will have the opportunity to acquire exclusive rights to develop and commercialize up to four selected DUB inhibitors, while Mission will receive an upfront license fee and additional milestone and royalty payments based on the success of the compounds.

“AbbVie is one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies, therefore having them as our first major collaborator is a great validation of our science. It also marks a significant milestone in our strategic aim of realising some of the value of our DUB expertise through key industry partnerships,” said Anker Lundemose, MD, PhD, CEO of Mission.

“Together we can advance the development of Mission’s best-in-class, DUB technology platform to find effective treatments for these unmet neurodegenerative diseases,” he added.

The collaboration does not include any of Mission’s lead targets, USP30 and USP10, which are under preclinical analysis for the treatment of several disorders, including mitochondrial diseases, Parkinson’s disease, and fibrosis.