AbbVie and Voyager Therapeutics are joining forces to develop a new therapy for Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative conditions.

The groups have entered into an exclusive strategic collaboration and option agreement to develop and commercialise vectorised antibodies directed against tau.

In a healthy brain, this protein promotes cellular stability and function, but in a diseased brain, accumulation of altered tau impairs brain function and causes neuronal cell loss.

A current limitation with weekly or biweekly infusions of biologic therapies for neurodegenerative diseases is that only a small amount of drug is able to make its way into the brain, the group’s note.

The collaboration aims to develop a potential one-time treatment using Voyager's gene therapy platform to reduce tau pathology through the delivery of an AAV vector antibody that encodes the genetic instructions to produce anti-tau antibodies within the brain.

"Voyager's vectorised antibody platform presents an innovative approach to addressing challenges in treating neurological disorders associated with the administration of biologic therapies,” said Jim Sullivan, vice president, pharmaceutical discovery, AbbVie.

“This collaboration has the potential to address the needs of patients who live with conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy and frontotemporal dementia."