Amgen taps KineMed for Alzheimer's biomarkers

Drug developer Amgen ($AMGN) has reached out to KineMed with an eye on neurodegenerative biomarkers, paying to use the California biotech's platform to ferret out the causes of brain cell-killing disorders like Alzheimer's disease.

Under the deal, Amgen gets the rights to KineMed's mass spectrometry-powered proteomics platform, allowing it to track synthesis and clearance rates of pathogenic proteins in the brain that contribute to neurodegeneration.

Brain-destroying ailments like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases all have something in common: They stem from an accumulation of broken and misfolded proteins in the brain, KineMed said.

"Diagnostic tests have not previously been available that reflect the underlying dynamics of the proteins believed to play a causal role in neurodegeneration," KineMed Vice President Patrizia Fanara said in a statement. "This has been a major obstacle in developing drugs that slow the accumulation of these misfolded proteins."

Now, with KineMed's target-discovery platform in tow, Amgen can develop therapies that attack the root cause of neurodegenerative disease, setting sights on compounds that treat misfangled protein generation and prevent brain cell death.

For Amgen, any resulting program would be a first foray into the high-risk, high-reward world of neurodegenerative disease treatments, as the biotech has no pipeline treatments for Alzheimer's or its relatives.

- read the statement