Mission Therapeutics and AbbVie sign DUBs collaboration in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s


Collaboration combines Mission’s unique science, chemistry and proprietary enzyme platform with AbbVie’s strong neurodegenerative disease research, development and commercialisation capabilities

Mission Therapeutics (“Mission”), a drug discovery and development company focused on selectively targeting deubiquitylating enzymes (DUBs) and AbbVie (“AbbVie”)(NYSE: ABBV), a research-based global biopharmaceutical company, today announced a collaboration in the research and preclinical development of specified DUB inhibitors for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease.

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are associated with the accumulation of misfolded, toxic proteins, which are believed to cause impaired function and death of nerve cells in the brain. DUBs play an important role in keeping a cell healthy by regulating the degradation of these proteins. There are over 100 different DUBs in humans. By modulating specific DUBs within the brain, AbbVie and Mission are aiming to develop potential therapeutics that enable the degradation of these toxic proteins and prevent their accumulation. 

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are the most common forms of neurological disorders.  In 2017, an estimated 50 million people were living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease; this number is expected to double every 20 years, reaching 75 million by 2030. More than 10 million people worldwide are living with Parkinson’s disease. There are currently no treatments to stop or reverse either disease’s progression, only to alleviate the symptoms.

Dr James B Summers, Vice President, Neuroscience Discovery Research, AbbVie said:
“There is an urgent need for new treatments that will make a positive impact on the lives of patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Mission’s scientists have developed impressive early research toward the understanding of these diseases. Together, we will work to advance this early science and develop meaningful therapies.”

Commenting on the collaboration, Dr Anker Lundemose, Mission CEO said: “AbbVie is one of the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies, therefore having them as our first major collaborator is a great validation of our science. It also marks a significant milestone in our strategic aim of realising some of the value of our DUB expertise through key industry partnerships.

He added, “The AbbVie team brings complementary capabilities and expertise as well as finance, and we greatly anticipate working with them. Together we can advance the development of Mission’s best-in-class, DUB technology platform to find effective treatments for these unmet neurodegenerative diseases.”

No financial details have been disclosed. Under the terms of the agreement, both parties will collaborate during the research stage to identify specific DUBs and discover suitable compounds. AbbVie will then have the option to gain exclusive rights to develop and commercialize DUB inhibitors against up to four selected targets. AbbVie will pay Mission an upfront license fee and Mission is also eligible to receive success-based milestone payments and royalty payments for each commercialized product.

The collaboration does not include any of Mission’s lead DUB programs including USP30 and USP10.


Babraham Bioscience Technologies Ltd (BBT) is responsible for the commercial development of the Babraham Research Campus. The Babraham Research Campus is distinct in its co-location of bioscience companies with the Babraham Institute, a world-renowned research organisation. The Campus provides companies laboratory and office space together with access to outstanding scientific facilities in an ideal geographical location at the core of the Cambridge cluster.

Babraham Research Campus Ltd.