AstraZeneca Partners in Antisense Drugs
AstraZeneca and Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. have formed a strategic collaboration to discover and develop antisense therapies for cardiovascular, metabolic, and renal diseases. The new collaboration builds on a broad existing relationship between the two companies and supports AstraZeneca's strategic approach in these therapeutic areas using novel RNA-targeted treatments. It also enables Isis Pharmaceuticals to extend use of its antisense technology to diseases of the kidney.
Under the agreement, AstraZeneca will pay an upfront fee of $65 million to Isis Pharmaceuticals plus development and regulatory milestones for each program that AstraZeneca advances to clinical development. Isis Pharmaceuticals is also eligible to earn tiered double-digit royalties on annual net sales for each program.
Antisense drugs are short, chemically modified, single-stranded nucleic acids (antisense oligonucleotides) that have the ability to target any gene product of interest. They offer new opportunities for therapeutic intervention because they act inside the cell to influence protein production by targeting RNA to either prevent the production of disease-causing proteins, increase the production of proteins deficient in disease, or target toxic RNAs that are unable to generate proteins, according to information from AstraZeneca.
The transaction is subject to clearances under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act.