USA – US pharma major AbbVie has again linked up with Hungary’s largest drugmaker Gedeon Richter in research, development, and marketing of new dopamine receptor modulators for the treatment of neuropsychiatric diseases.

The co-development and licensing agreement is based on data obtained from Richter’s preclinical research. The collaboration includes a number of new chemical entities that have been selected for development.

The agreement calls for AbbVie and Richter to share funding for preclinical and clinical research and development (R&D).

Richter is entitled to an upfront cash payment from AbbVie, which will also make future payments contingent on Richter meeting development, regulatory, and commercialization milestones. Furthermore, AbbVie will pay Richter a sales-based royalty.

AbbVie will own the global commercialization rights to Richter’s products, excluding existing markets such as Vietnam, geographic Europe, Russia, and other Commonwealth of Independent States countries.

The companies have collaborated on central nervous system (CNS) projects for the past 15 years, including internationally launched products such as cariprazine (Vraylar/Reagila).

Vraylar, which is indicated for bipolar I disorder and schizophrenia, brought in US$1.73 billion for AbbVie in 2021. The therapy, which was approved by the FDA for the first time in 2019, is being studied for the treatment of autism and major depressive disorder.

AbbVie has seven drugs in its neuroscience pipeline, including ABBV-951, a phase 3 Parkinson’s disease asset. Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injury, and migraine are some of the other indications.

Richter, on the other hand, has been relying on Vraylar for a while now, but he has 11 original projects in the works.

Although the company’s primary focus is on neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases, it also provides contract development and manufacturing services to the pharmaceutical industry.

In collaboration with Richter, we will continue to build on our research that seeks to provide additional insights into our understanding of cariprazine’s clinical pharmacology and explore novel chemistry to identify new dopamine receptor modulators,” said AbbVie R&D senior vice-president and chief scientific officer Tom Hudson.

AbbVie is committed to driving progress and finding solutions for patients living with complex neuropsychiatric conditions.”

The companies have not divulged the financial details of the transaction. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of this year, subject to the satisfaction of closing conditions and regulatory approvals.

AbbVie recently completed the acquisition of Belgium-based Syndesi Therapeutics for up to US$1 billion, expanding its neuroscience portfolio.

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