Mission receives $20m milestone payment from AbbVie

Cambridge’s Mission Therapeutics is to receive a milestone payment of $20 million from Wall Street-quoted AbbVie as part of a neurodegenerative disease collaboration.

Mission is a drug discovery and development company focused on targeting the ubiquitin pathway; the partners are progressing selected deubiquitylating enzyme (DUB) targets into the next phase of research. 

In the second major milestone of the companies’ research and preclinical development alliance, AbbVie has nominated two DUB targets to progress to the next stage of drug discovery. This selection follows supportive data from in vitro and in vivo Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease models. 

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are the most common neurological disorders worldwide, with over 50 million people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and 10 million more with Parkinson’s. 

While there are treatments to help reduce symptoms, there are no treatments available to help stop or reverse progression.

Both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are associated with the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the brain, which are believed to cause impaired function and death of nerve cells. DUBs can help to maintain cell health by regulating the degradation of these proteins.

Dr Anker Lundemose, Mission’s CEO, said: “We are delighted to have reached this next major milestone in our collaboration with AbbVie and receive the $20 million milestone; this represents a big step forward for Mission and further highlights DUBs as targets for drug development.

“The successful and timely progression of two DUB targets into the drug discovery phase is further validation of our platform. We look forward to the continuation of this great neurodegenerative disease collaboration.”

Dr Eric Karran, VP Neuroscience Discovery Research at AbbVie added: “There is an urgent need for treatments that can make tangible and lasting improvements to the lives of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s patients.

“Our collaboration with Mission has the potential to identify novel therapeutic options for neurodegenerative disorders. We have had a great experience working with Mission and are pleased to be able to continue to draw on their valued expertise as we enter the next phase of drug development.”

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