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Under the agreement, the companies will discover and develop drug candidates targeting two ion channels linked to neurological disorders.
On Nov. 14, 2023 Autifony Therapeutics Limited announced that it has entered into an exclusive global licensing agreement with Jazz Pharmaceuticals to discover and develop drug candidates targeting two ion channels linked to neurological disorders. Autifony, which is developing novel pharmaceutical treatments for rare central nervous system disorders and other serious brain diseases, will lead drug discovery and preclinical development on the two targets. Afterwards, Jazz will lead all clinical development, manufacturing, regulation, and commercialization.
Under the agreement, Autifony will receive an upfront payment from Jazz and is entitled to development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments across the two programs. The upfront and milestone payments have a total combined value of up to $770.5 million. Autifony is also eligible to receive royalties on future net sales.
Autifony is a UK-based biotechnology company formed as a spin-out from GSK. Autifony plans to combine its scientific expertise and ion channel drug discover platform to create a pipeline of small-molecule modulators that target specific substyles of ion channels. Ion channels are membrane proteins that serve as gated pathways for ions’ movements across cell membranes, and they are crucial to many physiological functions, including the activity of nerves and muscles. Diseases associated with defects in ion channel functioning are often the result of mutations in the genes encoding ion channel proteins; these diseases are known as channelopathies. Targeting these channels has created opportunities for the development of precision medicine in diseases that have been historically difficult to treat.
“We are excited to be working with Jazz Pharmaceuticals on two novel ion channel targets, on which we can bring to bear Autifony’s long standing expertise in small molecule ion channel drug discovery and development. Jazz has an exceptional track record of rapidly advancing neuroscience development programs and effectively commercializing novel therapies that offer improvements over current standards of care. These programs have the potential to bring ground-breaking benefits to patients in a range of indications,” said Charles Large, chief executive officer of Autifony, in a press release.