AstraZeneca And Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited Parkinson's Collaboration

AstraZeneca PLC (AZN) announced that it has put together a deal with Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TKPYY) that will see the two collaborate on the development of a brand-new Parkinson's disease asset.

The last week or so has been a busy period for AstraZeneca, with the company announcing the approval of its Faslodex asset as a first-line treatment for women with advanced breast cancer; a deal with German biotechnology company Ethris rooted in a brand-new respiratory disease drug class; and, just yesterday, a collaboration with Boston-based biotechnology company Berg that will investigate the potential use of artificial intelligence (AI) in various neurological diseases.

As such, the latest Takeda deal seems to have gone somewhat unnoticed amid the spectrum of operational developments.

With this in mind, here is a look at the announcement in an attempt to figure out what it means for the companies involved and the Parkinson's disease population long-term.

Before getting started, it's worth noting that Parkinson's disease is one of the most notoriously difficult diseases to treat in the world. Standard of care therapy in the space hasn't really been updated for the past 50 years or so and treatment in question, levodopa, has mixed results that deteriorate over time and in line with disease progression.

It also brings with it a variety of side effects, including the infamous OFF periods that levodopa takers must endure, the latter of which are characterized by serious and often debilitating dyskinesia.

In other words, new treatments are very much needed and many companies have tried and subsequently failed to meet this demand.

The AstraZeneca, Takeda collaboration is rooted in an asset called MEDI1341, which the two companies hope will be able to buck the trend of failure that has plagued the space for decades.

The difficulty with Parkinson's disease is that nobody really knows what causes it. There are some indications that various proteins that build up in the brain might contribute to progression, but – as yet – these proteins have proven to be nothing more than correlative (as opposed to causative). In other words, as Parkinson's disease progresses, certain proteins build up in the brain, but there's no real proof as yet that these proteins that are responsible for the progression.

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Disclosure: The author has no positions in any of the stocks mentioned. 

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