Commercial Cerveau and its Alzheimer’s imaging technology acquired by Lantheus

Cerveau and its Alzheimer’s imaging technology acquired by Lantheus

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Lantheus is expanding its line of radiopharmaceuticals by acquiring Cerveau Technologies, and subsequently, its imaging technology for Alzheimer’s. Lantheus based in Massachusetts is the manufacturer of several treatments, diagnostics, and platforms powered by artificial intelligence, whereas, Cerveau technologies are the developer of positron emission tomography imaging agents for detecting Alzheimer’s disease.

The MK-6240 positron emission tomography imaging agent is used to identify amassing neurofibrillary tangles of tau, a protein in brain cells associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

The acquisition’s precise financial details were not made public. However, Lantheus stated in its announcement that the stock-based agreement would include royalty payments in double digits based on earnings from Cerveau’s research and commercial work, as well as additional payouts based on when Cerveau’s business achieves specific development and commercial milestones.

According to Lantheus’ most recent earnings report (PDF), which covered the third quarter of 2022, its sales were between $915 million and $919 million, or approximately $20 million more than the midpoint of its initial predictions.

Lantheus’ stock has essentially been constant since the announcement of the acquisition. 

The MK-6240 tracer from Cerveau, which Merck exclusively licensed in early 2017, is used in PET scans to identify regions of the brain that seem to contain tau buildups, which may signify the beginning of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Cerveau’s tracer might aid in diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease far earlier than the usual timetable since tau tangles start to build up before the illness’s outer symptoms start to manifest. The PET tracer can also be used to monitor a patient’s illness development after a diagnosis.

In order to incorporate MK-6240 into ongoing clinical studies of potential therapies for Alzheimer’s and other neurological disorders, Cerveau has formed collaborations with several pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and academic organisations. It signed a contract with Alnylam Pharmaceuticals to assist in the evaluation of the latter’s innovative medicines for moderate cognitive impairment and presymptomatic Alzheimer’s disease.

Aduhelm, a contentious Alzheimer’s drug from Biogen and Eisai, was partly validated because of MK-6240. The PET tracer was used to track tau tangles in substudies of 37 patients, and it revealed that a high dose of Aduhelm was more effective than a placebo in reducing the protein’s prevalence in three of the six studied regions of the brain, according to the FDA’s labeling information (PDF) for the medication.

Soon after Lantheus made a bid of about $2 billion to license two radiopharmaceutical cancer candidates from POINT Biopharma, Cerveau was acquired. In the agreement, Lantheus agreed to pay $260 million upfront and to guarantee an additional $1.8 billion in royalties should POINT’s two products receive FDA approval and start to meet specific commercial objectives. 

Etienne Montagut, the Chief Business Officer of Lantheus stated:

“This exciting acquisition aligns with our growth strategy, further diversifying our radiopharmaceutical diagnostic imaging agent pipeline to now include the most widely-used Tau PET imaging agent in Alzheimer’s disease and will provide us with an extensive roster of academic collaborations and pharmaceutical partnerships.” 

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