AstraZeneca, Silence Therapeutics in $2.0-Bn Deal for siRNA Therapeutics

AstraZeneca has formed a collaboration with Silence Therapeutics, a London-based biopharmaceutical, to discover, develop and commercialize small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics for treating cardiovascular, renal, metabolic and respiratory diseases, in a deal worth up to $2.0 billion ($80 million in upfront payment and equity investment).

Under the collaboration, Silence will be responsible for designing siRNA molecules against gene targets selected by AstraZeneca, and for manufacturing of material to support GLP toxicology studies and Phase I clinical studies. AstraZeneca and Silence will collaborate during the discovery phase, and AstraZeneca will lead clinical development and commercialization of molecules arising from the collaboration. Silence will have the option to negotiate for co-development of two programs of their choice starting from Phase II.

Under the deal, AstraZeneca will make an upfront cash payment of $60 million and an equity investment of $20 million in Silence. The parties anticipate initiating work on five targets within the first three years of the collaboration, with AstraZeneca having the option to extend the collaboration to a further five targets. For each disease target, Silence is eligible to receive up to $400 million in milestones, plus tiered royalties as further outlined. AstraZeneca will pay Silence an option fee of $10 million for each selected target at the point of candidate nomination and thereafter for each target selected. Silence will be eligible for up to $140 million in development milestones and up to $250 million in commercialization milestones as well as tiered royalties on net sales ranging from high single digit to low double digit.

The multi-target collaboration will use Silence’s siRNA platform to identify and progress liver-based targets as well as developing new delivery approaches for targeting other tissues such as the heart, lung and kidney. Small interfering RNA (siRNA) are double-stranded RNA molecules that offer opportunities for therapeutic intervention because they act inside the cell to influence protein production by targeting RNA to prevent the production of disease-causing proteins, according to the information from Silence Therapeutics.

Source: AstraZeneca and Silence Therapeutics

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