Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and AstraZeneca have recently announced they are strategically collaborating to advance antisense therapies to address metabolic, cardiovascular and renal diseases. This new collaboration is based on an already existing relationship between the two firms and sustains AstraZeneca’s strategic approach in each one of these therapeutic areas, using novel RNA-targeted treatments. This agreement also enables Isis Pharmaceuticals to extend the use of its antisense technology to kidney diseases.
Antisense drugs are chemically modified, short and single-stranded nucleic acids with the capacity to target any specific gene product. They offer novel chances for therapeutic intervention since they mechanism of action occurs inside the cell and alter protein production by striking RNA. This can then prevent the production of proteins that cause diseases, increase the amount of proteins in deficit, or target toxic RNAs incapable of generating proteins.
AstraZeneca has to assure an upfront fee equivalent of $65 million to Isis Pharmaceuticals and the development and regulatory milestones for each one of the programs that AstraZeneca furthers to clinical development. Isis Pharmaceuticals can also earn royalties for each program.
AstraZeneca’s Executive Vice President, Mene Pangalos, said, “Antisense-based therapies are rapidly gaining momentum in the clinic and becoming an important component of our early stage pipeline. This collaboration combines the world-class antisense drug research capabilities of Isis with our expertise in cardiovascular, metabolic and renal disease drug discovery and development. By working together, we aim to uncover targets and pathways that can be manipulated using antisense drug therapy.”
B. Lynne Parshall, Isis Pharmaceuticals’ Chief Operating Officer, noted, “This expansion of our collaboration with AstraZeneca establishes our second strategic relationship. This new collaboration will help broaden the application of our antisense technology to targets in the kidney. AstraZeneca is committed to finding novel best-in-class therapies for some of the largest, most complex and fastest growing disease segments in the developed world. Combining our antisense technology with AstraZeneca’s strong knowledge, leadership and commitment in these areas should be very valuable in fully exploiting these opportunities and moving new therapies effectively and efficiently toward the market.”