CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct 19, 2015 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Luc Therapeutics (pronounced 'Luke'), a biotechnology company dedicated to discovering and developing medicines for patients living with serious psychiatric diseases, announced that it has entered into an exclusive license and collaboration agreement with Novartis. The collaboration will focus on accelerating development of Luc's subtype selective NMDA receptor negative allosteric modulators (NAMs) for the treatment of depression.
"The Luc team is excited to work with Novartis on the advancement of our NR2B NAMs, discovered through our depth of expertise in the pharmacology of NMDA receptor modulation. These compounds have the potential to yield therapeutics that are able to improve the lives of patients with depression more profoundly than products that exist in the market today," said Vanessa King, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Luc. "This collaboration demonstrates that Luc's proprietary NMDA receptor-focused medicinal chemistry and pharmacology capabilities are able to create assets worthy of being accelerated towards the clinic. And, we are pleased to have found a strong partner to bring our NR2B NAM program forward."
Luc's mission centers on the discovery of new treatments for neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders by targeting dynamic synaptic plasticity, which refers to the ability of the billions of synaptic connections in the human brain to strengthen or weaken over time; as such, it is the underlying biological mechanism of information processing, learning and memory. NMDA receptors are core to the neurobiology of plasticity.
Under the terms of the deal, Luc has exclusively licensed to Novartis intellectual property for compounds that selectively negatively modulate NR2B-containing NMDA receptors. Novartis will fund all research and development for the program. Deal terms include an upfront payment to Luc, as well as development and sales milestones and royalties. Further details of the financial terms are not being disclosed.
"Novartis' commitment to connecting the laboratory to the clinic, and pursuing molecular pathways across a landscape of multiple diseases, is a natural fit with Luc's focus," added Dr. King. "This is an exciting time for neuroscience drug discovery. Increased understanding of brain function and neuropharmacology coupled with refined in vitro and in vivo tools are fundamentally improving our ability to translate discoveries in the laboratory into therapeutics to improve the lives of underserved patients. We are pleased to be helping to lead the charge."
About Luc Therapeutics Inc.
Luc (pronounced 'Luke') Therapeutics – formerly Mnemosyne Pharmaceuticals – is a private, Cambridge, MA-based biotechnology company dedicated to discovering and developing medicines for patients living with serious psychiatric diseases. The company combines deep expertise in the pharmacology of NMDA receptors – critical modulators of the brain's plasticity – and small molecule drug discovery leadership with recently discovered, yet validated, translational biomarkers. Luc believes this approach will more effectively and efficiently create new medicines for patients underserved by those available today. Luc's negative allosteric modulator program has been licensed to Novartis for development of a fast-acting treatment for depression and, potentially, other diseases. Luc's in-house discovery efforts focus on agents for addressing cognitive impairment in schizophrenia and other serious psychiatric diseases through positive allosteric modulation of the NMDA receptor (NMDA-PAMs). Luc's investors include Atlas Venture, CLAL Biotechnology Industries (CBI, formerly Access BridgeGap Ventures) and Slater Technology Fund. For more information, visit www.luctherapeutics.com.
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SOURCE: Luc Therapeutics Inc.
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