Lundbeck brings third Parkinson’s drug into clinic

Denmark’s Lundbeck is bringing a third potential drug for Parkinson’s disease to the clinic – a human antibody that the company hopes will tackle the underlying cause of the condition.

The compound known as Lu AF82422 was invented by Lundbeck in collaboration with Genmab, the company that also developed Janssen’s blood cancer drug Darzalex (daratumumab).

According to Lundbeck Lu AF82422 is a human antibody targeting the toxic proteins causing the death of the dopamine-producing brain cells that leads to Parkinson’s disease.

The compound is thought to work like the body’s natural antibodies when the immune system works to remove harmful proteins.

As it targets the underlying biology of the disease, Lu AF82422 may potentially not only treat its symptoms, but might also slow or stop its progression.

The first ever antibody that Lundbeck has brought into clinical development, in the phase 1 study it will be studied in both healthy volunteers and patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Lundbeck has already added two other potential Parkinson’s drugs to its pipeline this year: Lu AF28996 and foliglurax. The Danish pharma also began developing Lu AF764323 for schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s disease this year.

There is a desperate need for new drugs for Parkinson’s – with only a handful of drugs being approved in the last decade.

Sunovion’s under-the-tongue film APL-130277 is close to the market, after hitting its target in a late-stage trial by improving motor function compared with placebo.

The FDA last year approved Newron’s Xadago (safinamide) as an add-on treatment for patients taking levodopa/carbidopa and are experiencing “off” episodes, following a five-year battle with the regulator. Xadago was approved in Europe in 2015.

Acadia’s Nuplazid, which treats hallucinations and delusions caused by the disease, was FDA-approved in 2016 but there are concerns about its safety.

UK biotech e-Therapeutics this year began working with genomics firm C4X Discovery to develop new therapies for Parkinson’s.

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