Alzheimer's: Treating with a daily pill in the future?

A Boston-based startup called Lyndra that specializes in developing long-acting drug delivery has announced an exclusive partnership with drug giant Allergan (NYSE:AGN) to develop a once-weekly drug to fight Alzheimer’s disease.

The deal, which consists of an upfront payment of $15 million to Lyndra and up to $90 million in development and regulatory milestones, marks the largest deal to date in an effort to find a way to treat the more than 50 million people who are living with Alzheimer’s or dementia worldwide, according to the Alzheimer’s Association.

The partnership also follows Lyndra’s Series A round of $23 million announced earlier this spring.

Lyndra’s CEO Amy Schulman said in a statement that creating a daily pill instead having patients take multiple pills will ease the burden of medication compliance and simple the day-to-day challenges of chronic conditions.

“Our ultra-long acting sustained release technology is built on the premise that a once-weekly oral pill will make a real difference in disease treatment and prevention,” Schulman said.

Allergan’s Senior Vice President of Pharmaceutical Development Sesha Neervannan said the partnership has the potential to unlock “a paradigm shift in the treatment of other conditions where less frequent administration is critical to improving compliance and patient care.”

Lyndra’s technology works by allowing the drug to temporarily reside in the stomach for up to one week while delivering a drug or a combination of drugs, until its finely tuned components break apart and pass through the GI tract.

“The astounding reality is that while there are so many effective, life-saving treatments available, nearly 50% of patients don’t adhere to their medication regimens, which leads to avoidable negative health outcomes and pre-mature deaths,” Dr. Robert Langer, Institute Professor at MIT and co-founder of Lyndra said.

In addition to the Allergan partnership, Lyndra also recently received a five-year grant from the National Institute of Health to develop ultra-long acting products for HIV.