The ALS Therapy Development Institute (ALS TDI) has formed a research agreement with Biogen Idec and UCB to investigate the use of an anti-CD40L antibody as a potential therapy for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's or Motor Neuron Disease. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.
Under the terms of a collaboration between Biogen Idec and UCB, UCB is currently developing an anti-CD40L monovalent pegylated Fab' antibody fragment (CDP7657) in a phase I clinical trial of patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE.
From research so far conducted, ALS TDI believes that targeting CD40L is a potential therapeutic approach for ALS. ALS TDI has studied a commercially available research reagent that targets CD40L in a preclinical disease model of ALS (known as SOD1). The results showed that the antiCD40L research reagent slowed paralysis and improved survival in the pre-clinical SOD1 model.
Under the terms of this agreement, ALS TDI will test a murine surrogate of CDP7657 in the SOD1 model. On conclusion of the study, Biogen Idec and UCB will have the option to license global rights to develop and commercialize compounds targeting the CD40L pathway in ALS.
"ALS is a devastating and deadly disease, and Biogen Idec and UCB are both committed to finding therapies for severe neurological diseases with high unmet medical need. We are excited about this project and look forward to working with ALS-TDI in this investigation," said Douglas Kerr, M.D., Ph.D., director of medical research at Biogen Idec.