AbbVie, Voyager Enter Exclusive Alzheimer’s Alliance

AbbVie and Voyager Therapeutics have entered an exclusive strategic collaboration and option agreement to develop and commercialize vectorized antibodies directed against tau for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative diseases. The collaboration combines AbbVie’s monoclonal antibody expertise, global clinical development and commercial capabilities with Voyager’s gene therapy platform that enables generating adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases.

In healthy individuals, tau is an abundant protein in the brain that promotes cellular stability and function. In the diseased brain, altered tau accumulates, resulting in impaired brain function and neuronal cell loss. One of the limitations with current biologic therapies for neurodegenerative diseases is that only a small amount of drug makes it into the brain. This collaboration aims to develop a potential one-time treatment using Voyager’s gene therapy platform to reduce tau pathology through the delivery of an AAV vector antibody that encodes the genetic instructions to produce anti-tau antibodies within the brain.

“AbbVie is focused on developing treatments to meet the crushing public health crisis presented by Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases,” said Jim Sullivan, Ph.D., vice president, pharmaceutical discovery, AbbVie. “Voyager’s vectorized antibody platform presents an innovative approach to addressing challenges in treating neurological disorders associated with the administration of biologic therapies. This collaboration has the potential to address the needs of patients who live with conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, progressive supranuclear palsy and frontotemporal dementia.”

“Combining AbbVie’s leadership and deep expertise in monoclonal antibody discovery, development and commercialization and our ability to vectorize monoclonal antibodies is a natural fit, and we are very pleased to collaborate with AbbVie to advance this strategy towards the clinic in an effort to bring innovative treatments to patients,” said Steven Paul, M.D., president and chief executive officer of Voyager. “This collaboration also represents an important advance in our strategy to leverage our AAV gene therapy platform and programs through partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies that bring complementary expertise and capabilities, in addition to capital.”