José Basel­ga finds promise in new class of RNA-mod­i­fy­ing can­cer tar­gets, lock­ing in 3 pre­clin­i­cal pro­grams with $55M

Hav­ing dived ear­ly in­to some of the RNA break­throughs of the last decades — bet­ting on Mod­er­na’s mR­NA tech and team­ing up with Si­lence on the siR­NA front — As­traZeneca is jump­ing in­to a new are­na: go­ing af­ter pro­teins that mod­i­fy RNA.

Their part­ner of choice is Ac­cent Ther­a­peu­tics, which is re­ceiv­ing $55 mil­lion in up­front pay­ment to steer a se­lect­ed pre­clin­i­cal pro­gram through to the end of Phase I. Af­ter As­traZeneca takes over, the Lex­ing­ton, MA-based start­up has the op­tion to co-de­vel­op and co-com­mer­cial­ize in the US — and col­lect up to $1.1 bil­lion in mile­stones in the long run. The deal al­so cov­ers two oth­er po­ten­tial drug can­di­dates.

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