AstraZeneca, C4XD sign exclusive $402 million global licence

AstraZeneca (AZ)

C4X Discovery Holdings has signed an exclusive global licence worth up to $402 million with AstraZeneca (AZ) for the development and commercialisation of the NRF2 Activator programme.

The deal will enable AZ to develop and commercialise an oral therapy for the treatment of inflammatory and respiratory diseases, with a lead focus on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

COPD is the third leading cause of death worldwide, with 3.23 million deaths in 2019 alone. It is, however, a preventable and treatable chronic lung disease that affects both men and women around the globe. Abnormalities in the small airways of the lungs lead to a narrowing of the airways, limiting airflow in and out of the lungs, and noticeable destruction of parts of the lung may be observed. Smoking is a major cause of COPD.

CDXD’s third significant deal with a major pharma, this latest agreement further substantiates its scientific expertise and strategy. The company will be eligible to receive upfront and pre-clinical payments of $16 million ahead of the first clinical trial – including $2 million upfront – plus clinical development and commercial milestones of a potential $385.8 million, as well as tiered mid-single digit royalties upon commercialisation.

AZ’s executive vice president, BioPharmaceuticals R&D Sir Mene Pangalos said: “At AstraZeneca, we are committed to transforming care in respiratory and immune-mediated disease and move beyond symptom control. Our alliance with C4XD adds an important new asset to our portfolio to push the boundaries of science by targeting underlying disease drivers to potentially modify the course of these diseases.”

Dr Clive Dix, CEO of C4XD, added: “Drug discovery is inherently scientifically complex, and it is through our unique expertise and proprietary cutting-edge technologies that C4XD is yet again proving itself as an exemplar in this field.”

He continued: “The COPD market alone is worth close to $20 billion and rising.”

Inflammation is a key driver in many pathological conditions, including respiratory diseases. NRF2 is an important natural regulator, controlling expression of antioxidant genes, and it also plays a key role in cellular defence against external insults, as well as the regulation of the inflammatory response.