AstraZeneca Signs Drug-Delivery PactBy
AstraZeneca has signed a licensing agreement with Starpharma, a Melbourne, Australia-based drug-delivery company specializing in dendrimers, to allow AstraZeneca to develop and commercialize compounds directed at a defined family of targets using Starpharma's DEP drug-delivery technology. The DEP platform centers on use of Starpharma's proprietary dendrimers, with the aim of enhancing the dosing and efficacy characteristics of pharmaceuticals. Dendrimers are a type of synthetic nanoscale polymer.
Under the agreement Starpharma is eligible to receive signature and milestone payments on one or more AstraZeneca DEP products if they progress through the development pipeline, and milestone and royalty payments on any net sales of the resultant products. AstraZeneca will fund all development and commercialization costs under the agreement, including ongoing and future collaborative work conducted with Starpharma. Starpharma's other programs, including the company's wholly-owned DEP docetaxel product, are not negatively impacted by this arrangement.
A signature payment of US$2 million (A$2.9 million) became payable on execution of the agreement. For the initial product, development and launch milestones could total up to US$64 million (A$91 million), and sales milestones based on specified annual sales levels could total up to US$60 million (A$86 million). The license agreement allows for additional products to be incorporated, with development and regulatory milestone payments of up to US$53.3 million (A$76 million), and potential sales milestones based on specified annual sales levels for qualifying additional products could total up to US$40 million (A$57 million). Any AstraZeneca DEP products would also attract tiered royalties on net sales.