Angelini Pharma, part of Angelini Industries, and JCR Pharmaceuticals have signed an exclusive global development and commercialisation agreement to develop new biologic therapies in epilepsy.

Under the agreement, both firms will develop therapies using J-Brain Cargo, blood-brain-barrier penetrating technology, to treat epilepsy by applying undisclosed effectors.

According to the terms of the agreement, JCR will receive payment for research expenses, and upfront payment along with additional development and commercial milestones up to $505.5m.

Additionally, JCR may receive tiered royalties on post-approval net sales.

Angelini Pharma CEO Jacopo Andreose said: “Epilepsy is one of the most prevalent chronic neurological diseases. In the past decade, it has been recognized as a social disease with high level of disability and mortality burden, and more research is urgently needed to identify targeted solutions for this underserved patient community.”

“Through this strategic collaboration with JCR, a company with a wealth of biotechnological expertise, we will combine our respective strengths to explore the use of biologics in this area and accelerate critically needed treatment options for people living with epilepsy.”

JCR’s blood-brain-barrier technology enables the delivery of biotherapeutics into the central nervous system through receptor-mediated transcytosis mechanisms.

To progress the therapeutic candidates into clinical development and global commercialisation outside of Japan, Angelini Pharma will have the option to obtain an exclusive licence following the pre-clinical development phase.

JCR president and chairman Shin Ashida said: “The blood-brain-barrier has remained an elusive target in clinical research for neurological disease, and we are excited to partner with Angelini Pharma to bring forward new therapies for these patients.

“Combining our key technologies with Angelini Pharma’s deep therapeutic knowledge in neurological diseases, will create new treatment options for people living with epilepsy.”

In 2021, Angelini signed a deal to acquire Swiss firm Arvelle Therapeutics for $960m.