AstraZeneca Partners for Respiratory Disease in $2-Billion+ Deal
AstraZeneca has formed a strategic collaboration with Pieris Pharmaceuticals, a Boston-headquartered clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, to develop inhaled drugs for respiratory diseases that leverage Pieris’ Anticalin platform in a deal worth approximately $2.16 billion.
AstraZeneca will make upfront and near-term milestone payments to Pieris of $57.5 million. Pieris has the potential to receive development-dependent milestones and eventual commercial payments for all products not exceeding $2.1 billion as well as tiered royalties on the sales of any potential products commercialized by AstraZeneca.
Under the collaboration, Pieris will be responsible for advancing its preclinical lead candidate, PRS-060, an Anticalin against interleukin-4 receptor alpha (IL-4Ra), into Phase I clinical trials in 2017. AstraZeneca will fund all clinical development and subsequent commercialization programs, and Pieris has the option to co-develop and co-commercialize in the US from Phase IIa onwards. In addition, the parties will collaborate to progress four additional Anticalins against undisclosed targets for respiratory disease. The collaboration agreement is conditional upon the expiration or early termination of the applicable waiting period (and any extension thereof) under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended.
Anticalin molecules are engineered proteins that can mimic antibodies. They bind to sites either on other proteins or on small molecules and are smaller than monoclonal antibodies, offering the potential of direct delivery to the lung, according to AstraZeneca.