Japanese drug maker Eisai has acquired the global rights to develop and market an antibody to treat Alzheimer's disease from Swedish firm BioArctic Neuroscience.

Eisai, which is looking for a follow-up to its market-leading Alzheimer's treatment Aricept (donepezil), has purchased the rights to develop, manufacture and market the drug of the antibody BAN2401, which is in preclinical development. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

The companies noted that BAN2401 is a humanised monoclonal antibody designed to attack the protofibrils, the precursor forms of the A-beta peptide, which is one component of the amyloid plaque that builds up in the brain and damages brain cells. They have been collaborating since August 2005 in a bid to identify a potential immunotherapy for Alzheimer's.

Eisai said that the licensing agreement for BAN2401, together with its own gamma secretase modulator E2012, allows it to pursue “parallel approaches to developing next-generation treatments for Alzheimer's”.