Licensing

AstraZeneca hauls kidney disease drug into the clinic after handing Ionis $30M in cash, $300M in milestones

More than a year after AstraZeneca $AZN grabbed two of Ionis’ $IONS antisense drug candidates in back-to-back deals, the pharma giant has come back with a $330 million licensing agreement for a fresh product candidate now headed into the clinic.

The UK pharma giant is paying $30 million upfront to develop and commercialize IONIS-AZ5-2.5Rx, or AZD2373. The antisense drug will treat a genetically associated form of kidney disease, the partners noted, but they are keeping the exact target to themselves for now.

Brett Monia

The structure of this pact is reminiscent of the one that gave AstraZeneca AZD 8233, another “Generation 2.5” antisense drug that tackles cardiovascular diseases. And then there was AZD4785, a first-in-class KRAS antisense cancer drug that AstraZeneca is taking into clinical development. Altogether, Ionis says its alliance with AstraZeneca has generated $220 million.

“This is the second drug to enter development under our strategic collaboration with AstraZeneca in cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases.” said Brett Monia, COO and senior vice president of antisense drug discovery and translational medicine at Ionis. “AstraZeneca is a great partner to work with in the cardiometabolic and renal therapeutic area, and we look forward to them moving this program through development.”

AstraZeneca and Ionis began the strategic collaboration to discover and develop antisense therapies for cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases back in 2015, when the antisense expert was still known as Isis Pharma.


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