Allergan has added a new unit – worth $125 million – to its huge body, as it purchased Chase Pharmaceuticals Corporation, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of improved treatments for neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Allergan payed $125 million upfront to buy Chase, which is subject to certain adjustments, and additional potential regulatory and sales milestone payments related to Chase’s lead compound, CPC-201, and certain backup compounds.
“Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease that represents a major and growing global public health problem, for which very few approved treatment options are available, and the societal cost is measured in hundreds of billions of dollars, so the need for improved treatment choices is paramount,” said David Nicholson, Chief Research & Development Officer, Allergan. He added that the acquisition would add a new Phase 3 ready program for Alzheimer’s disease to Allergan’s CNS portfolio, emphasizing the importance of such trials to the company, as it aims to reach millions of patients.
“(addition to CNS portfolio) builds on our commitment to develop innovative approaches to improve the lives of millions of patients suffering from this devastating illness,” Nicholson said.
In the Tuesday press release, Allergan explained that Chase’s lead compound, CPC-201, is a patent-protected combination of the most commonly prescribed acetylcholinesterase inhibitor (AChEI), donepezil, and the peripherally acting cholinergic blocker, solifenacin. AChEIs have been shown to improve cognition in Alzheimer’s disease patients. Currently approved AChEIs are only modestly effective due to dose-limiting side effects, including diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
Allergan further explained that in Phase 2 clinical trials, 29 out of 33 patients (88%) reached 40 mg/day of donepezil (maximum dose allowed), without experiencing dose-limiting adverse events. This median donepezil dose did not change significantly during three months of maintenance treatment. Chase’s next-generation formulations offer the possibility of greater and more tolerable dosing, and may provide the potential for significantly improved cognition and function in Alzheimer’s disease patients.
Allergan advances CPC-201 study in 2017
Chase Pharmaceuticals recently completed an End of Phase 2 meeting with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Based on feedback from the FDA, Allergan said it intends to advance CPC-201 into a single Phase 3 registration study in 2017.
Douglas Ingram, Chief Executive Officer and President, Chase Pharmaceuticals Corporation, commented: “We at Chase Pharmaceuticals are passionate about developing and bringing to physicians and their patients profoundly improved Alzheimer’s disease treatments. I am very excited that Allergan has recognized the strong clinical value of our development programs and look forward to seeing Allergan apply its leading clinical development and regulatory expertise to bring these potential treatments forward for patients.”
Thomas Chase, co-founder and Chief Scientific Officer of Chase Pharmaceuticals, said: “We believe our lead candidate, CPC-201, will offer a significant improvement over existing therapy in the symptomatic treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, and will benefit all those suffering from this disease.”
A former consultant for Chase Pharmaceuticals Jeffrey L. Cummings, MD, ScD, current Director of the Cleveland Clinic’s Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and the Camille and Larry Ruvo Chair of the Neurological Institute at Cleveland Clinic added that the potential to provide improved cognition without the dose-limiting side effects of currently available AChEIs would be a welcome advance for medical professionals, their patients and caregivers who seek better approaches to manage the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.