Caraway Therapeutics has entered into an exclusive collaboration and option agreement with AbbVie to develop and commercialise Caraway’s small molecule therapeutics targeting TMEM175, a potassium ion channel critical to lysosomal function implicated in both Parkinson’s disease (PD) and other neurodegenerative disorders.
TMEM175 is a compelling target with strong genetic support. Loss of function mutations in TMEM175 are associated with reduced lysosomal efficiency in a subpopulation of PD patients, that can manifest as earlier age of disease onset or elevated risk of dementia relative to idiopathic PD.
Under this collaboration, Caraway – a portfolio company of AbbVie Ventures – will continue to advance proprietary small molecule TMEM175 modulators, leveraging Caraway’s unique drug discovery platform and expertise in lysosomal biology and cellular clearance mechanisms, and combine with AbbVie’s expertise in disease biology, clinical development, and global commercialization.
“Collaborating with Caraway to advance TMEM175 modulators has great potential to fit with AbbVie’s efforts to develop transformative treatments for patients with neurodegenerative diseases,” said Eric Karran, Vice President, Neuroscience Discovery at AbbVie.
Martin D. Williams, CEO of Caraway Therapeutics, said: “Variants in TMEM175 that reduce lysosomal function are highly prevalent genetic risk factors for the development of PD and evidence suggests that patients with reduced TMEM175 function tend to have earlier age of disease onset and increased risk of dementia.”
Caraway will receive an upfront cash payment of $17 million. After Caraway completes certain pre-clinical research and development activities for the collaboration program, AbbVie has an option to license the program and proceed into IND-enabling studies, clinical development, and commercialization.
Caraway is eligible to receive up to $267 million in payments, including upfront and future option payments, and development milestones.
Caraway is also eligible to receive additional regulatory and commercial milestones, tiered royalties on global commercial sales, and has the option to participate in product development in return for higher royalty rates.