UK drug discovery and development group Mission Therapeutics has signed a deal with AbbVie focusing on early stage development of specified DUB inhibitors for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.

Deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs) play an important role in keeping a cell healthy by regulating the degradation of these proteins.

By modulating specific DUBs within the brain, AbbVie and Mission are aiming to develop potential therapeutics that enable the degradation of these toxic proteins and prevent their accumulation.

An estimated 50 million people were living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease in 2017, while there are more than 10 million people worldwide with Parkinson’s.

There are currently no treatments to stop or reverse either disease’s progression, only to alleviate the symptoms, highlighting the vast unmet need in the area.

“There is an urgent need for new treatments that will make a positive impact on the lives of patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease,” said Dr James B Summers, vice president, Neuroscience Discovery Research at AbbVie.

“Mission’s scientists have developed impressive early research toward the understanding of these diseases. Together, we will work to advance this early science and develop meaningful therapies.”

Under the terms of the deal, both parties will collaborate during the research stage to identify specific DUBs and discover suitable compounds.

AbbVie will then have the option to gain exclusive rights to develop and commercialize DUB inhibitors against up to four selected targets.

Specific financial details were not disclosed, but the firms did note that AbbVie will pay Mission an upfront license fee and Mission is also eligible to receive success-based milestone payments and royalty payments for each commercialised product.