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OSAKA, Japan — Japanese drug maker Takeda Pharmaceutical has signed an agreement with Durham, N.C.-based Zinfandel Pharmaceuticals to develop a test for assessing Alzheimer’s disease risk in adults, the two companies said.
Under the agreement, Zinfandel will receive $9 million upfront plus up to $78 million in milestone payments, plus royalties, for licensing rights to the TOMM40 assay. Zinfandel CEO Allen Roses and researchers at the company recently discovered the TOMM40 biomarker, and the company is developing it to identify people at high risk for developing Alzheimer’s within five years.
The deal includes potential use of the Takeda drug pioglitazone in combination with the assay. Studies have shown the pioglitazone, the active ingredient in the diabetes drug Actos, may slow progression of Alzheimer’s.