AstraZeneca Joins Takeda, Berg to Advance Development of Parkinson’s Disease Therapies

Patricia Inácio, PhD avatar

by Patricia Inácio, PhD |

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AstraZeneca has partnered with Takeda Pharmaceutical to develop and commercialize the alpha-synuclein antibody MEDI1341 for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

MEDI1341 is expected to enter a Phase 1 clinical trial later this year. Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will supervise the development of MEDI1341 through Phase 1, while Takeda will guide future clinical developments.

“Today there are no medicines that can slow or halt the degenerative progress of Parkinson’s disease so this remains a large area of unmet medical need,” Mene Pangalos, AstraZeneca’s executive vice president of global business development, said in a press release.

“Takeda has an excellent track record in neuroscience research and we are excited to be working together. By combining our scientific expertise and sharing the risks and cost of development, we hope to accelerate the advancement of MEDI1341 as a promising new approach to support the treatment of people with Parkinson’s disease around the world,” Pangalos added.

One of the mechanisms underlying the progression of Parkinson’s disease is the accumulation of alpha-synuclein protein into aggregates called Lewy bodies. Therapies for Parkinson’s disease currently focus on strategies to remove or prevent the formation and spreading of these aggregates.

MEDI1341 has a high degree of affinity and selectivity, plus low interaction with the immune system, suggesting that it could be more effective and safe than other antibodies targeting alpha-synuclein.

“Despite modest advancements in maintenance therapies, Parkinson’s disease continues to represent a devastating diagnosis and a burdensome challenge for therapeutic discovery,” said Emiliangelo Ratti, head of Takeda’s Global CNS Therapeutic Area Unit. “Our collaboration with AstraZeneca is a sophisticated one that will enable us to efficiently advance a validated target in a new modality, with the aim of improving the lives of patients.”

AstraZeneca also recently announced research collaboration with the company Berg to identify and test new targets for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. Under the agreement, Berg will use AstraZeneca’s library of central nervous system (CNS) optimized fragments and couple it with their proprietary artificial intelligence analytics platform to identify new therapeutic targets.

“For the past decade, BERG has been at the forefront of using artificial intelligence for drug discovery, and we’re excited to partner with AstraZeneca, which has been an industry leader in discovering and developing therapeutics to improve patient care in neuroscience,” Niven R. Narain, Berg’s co-founder, president, and chief executive officer, said in a company press release.

“Parkinson’s disease is a devastating progressive disorder, and we’re proud to collaborate with AstraZeneca to find new approaches for treating Parkinson’s patients and exploring therapeutic targets for additional neurological diseases,” Narain added.