Enigma Biomedical Group USA (Enigma) and US-based pharmaceutical company AbbVie have teamed up to develop and market a type of PET imaging biomarkers.

The two companies signed a licence agreement for AbbVie’s F18 PET imaging biomarkers targeting four-repeat (4R) tau protein in patients with suspected neurodegenerative disease.

Enigma said that the 4R tau PET imaging biomarkers form important new tools in advancing the understanding of neurodegenerative diseases linked to misfolded 4R tau protein.

The diseases include progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) and corticobasal degeneration (CBD).

AbbVie neuroscience discovery research vice president Eric Karran said: “Amyloid and tau PET imaging continue to have a tremendous impact on the development of therapeutics to treat Alzheimer’s disease.

“We hope that these novel 4R tau PET ligands will facilitate and accelerate the development of innovative therapies for patients living with other neurodegenerative diseases such as progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP).”

Initially, the collaboration will work together with Enigma’s academic and pharmaceutical partners to validate the preclinical and clinical PET ligands.

Upon successful validation, Enigma has the option to negotiate an exclusive license agreement with AbbVie for the PET imaging biomarkers.

Enigma said that AbbVie’s 4R tau PET imaging biomarkers have unique properties and will be useful in developing current and future therapeutic agents in neurodegenerative diseases.

Enigma Biomedical USA president and CEO Rick Hiatt said: “EBG-USA is focused on enabling the acceleration of technologies that have the potential to advance the fight against debilitating neurodegenerative diseases, in which we will build on demonstrated successes with best-in-class neuroimaging biomarkers.

“We are excited to add AbbVie to our growing network of pharmaceutical and academic partners. Our goal is to expand the availability of this novel investigational imaging agent to the broader scientific community.”