AstraZeneca, Accent Enter $1.1 Bn Pact for RNA-Cancer Therapies

AstraZeneca and Accent Therapeutics, a Lexington, Massachusetts-based biopharmaceutical company developing oncology-focused, small molecule therapies, have formed a deal, worth up to $1.1 billion ($55 million up front and $1.1 billion in additional payments in the form of option fees and milestone payments) to discover, develop and commercialize therapeutics targeting RNA-modifying proteins (RMPs) for the treatment of cancer.

RMPs are proteins that control many aspects of RNA biology and represents a new approach for addressing the process disruptions that can lead to cancer and can cause resistance to medicines, according to the companies.  

Under the agreement, Accent will be responsible for research and development activities for a nominated preclinical program through to the end of Phase I clinical trials. Following completion of Phase I, AstraZeneca will lead development and commercialization activities for the nominated program, with Accent having the option to jointly develop and commercialize with AstraZeneca in the US. AstraZeneca will also have the exclusive option to license worldwide rights to two further preclinical discovery programs, for which Accent will conduct certain preclinical activities.

Accent will receive an upfront payment of $55 million and, in the event that Accent elects to jointly develop the nominated program, is eligible to receive up to $1.1 billion in additional success-based payments across all programs in the form of option fees and milestone payments as well as tiered royalties on net sales ranging from mid-single digit to low-double digits. In the event Accent opts into co-developing and co-commercializing the nominated program, profits and losses will be split in the US.

Source: AstraZeneca and Accent Therapeutics

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