AstraZeneca strikes $400 million Parkinson's drug deal with Takeda

FILE PHOTO: The logo of AstraZeneca is seen on medication packages in a pharmacy in London, Britain April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth /File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - AstraZeneca is to receive up to $400 million from Takeda Pharmaceutical after striking a deal for the Japanese company to co-develop an early-stage medicine for Parkinson’s disease.

The drug, MEDI1341, is an antibody treatment discovered by the British company that is due to enter Phase I clinical trials later this year.

The deal is the latest example of AstraZeneca partnering with other drugmakers to develop medicines as it seeks to focus resources on priority areas such as cancer and respiratory disease.

“By combining our scientific expertise and sharing the risks and cost of development, we hope to accelerate the advancement of MEDI1341 as a promising new approach to support the treatment of people with Parkinson’s disease around the world,” said AstraZeneca executive vice president Mene Pangalos.

Takeda has a strong track record in neuroscience, while for AstraZeneca it is lower priority area in which it is seeking partnerships.

On Monday, it struck a separate deal with Boston-based Berg to use artificial intelligence to work on Parkinson’s disease.

Under the terms of the latest agreement, announced on Tuesday, AstraZeneca will lead Phase I testing of MEDI1341 while Takeda will lead future clinical development.

The companies will share equally future development and commercialization costs for MEDI1341, as well as any future revenues, with Takeda paying AstraZeneca up to $400 million, including initial revenue in 2017.

Cancer, rather than neuroscience, is the area of greatest potential opportunity for Britain’s AstraZeneca, although its prospects in oncology suffered a major blow last month when an immunotherapy treatment failed to help patients as hoped in a closely watched lung cancer trial.

Reporting by Ben Hirschler. Editing by Jane Merriman