23 August 2017Americas

AstraZeneca signs €25m deal to help tackle respiratory disease

German therapeutics developer Ethris has agreed a €25 million ($29 million) research deal with AstraZeneca focused on developing therapies for respiratory diseases.

The five-year deal will see Ethris collaborate with AstraZeneca’s biologics and research and development (R&D) arm MedImmune.

AstraZeneca will pay €25 million upfront as well as research funding. Ethris may also be eligible for future R&D milestones, including sales-related royalties upon commercialisation.

Under the terms of the deal, MedImmune will have access to Ethris’s stabilised non-immunogenic mRNA technology, which can be used to treat hereditary diseases as an alternative to protein therapy, and in regenerative medicine.

Ethris said it will use the technology exclusively with AstraZeneca to develop new targets for investigation into asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

According to an announcement by both companies, AstraZeneca will have the option to take exclusive worldwide licences upon completion of the research plan for each target within the collaboration.

Carsten Rudolph, president and CEO of Ethris, said: “This collaboration pairs our proprietary technology with the world-class expertise of AstraZeneca and MedImmune in respiratory diseases, biologics development and commercialisation, and positions us to bring forward new options for patients.”

Bahija Jallal, executive vice president at MedImmune, added: “Rapid advances over the last decade have made mRNA a very promising tool for clinical application, and we are excited to collaborate with Ethris.”

AstraZeneca has signalled its intention to invest in mRNA technology before. Last year it signed a deal with Moderna Therapeutics to develop and co-commercialise therapeutic candidates for the treatment of a range of cancers.

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