AstraZeneca has acquired a portfolio of neuroscience assets from Link Medicine, a privately held biopharmaceutical company based in Massachusetts. Link Medicine has focused its R&D efforts in the field of autophagy, an intracellular process that clears and recycles misfolded proteins, and has been developing potential new treatments for a range of neurodegenerative diseases.
AstraZeneca acquired multiple small molecule assets in clinical and preclinical stages that target the enzyme farnesyltransferase and modulate autophagy. Autophagy is an emerging area of research that can be applied to a range of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease, both of which are characterized by a build-up of incorrectly folded, aggregated and ultimately neurotoxic proteins.
The agreement is the third for AstraZeneca's new neuroscience Innovative Medicines Unit, established earlier this year. Under this new model, AstraZeneca is continuing to invest in neuroscience discovery research and early development for small and large molecules by tapping into the best available external science.
AstraZeneca will make specified upfront and milestone payments and will assume all of the program's R&D activities.