AZ to work with Accent on RNA-modifying protein tech in cancer

AstraZeneca is to work with US biotech Accent Therapeutics on therapies targeting RNA-modifying proteins (RMPs) for treatment of cancer. 

Inhibition of RMPs is a new approach and could provide important targets for cancer and other diseases. 

The study of RNA modifications is an emerging field of research in cancer. Modifications on RNA have been mostly identified over the last decade, and there is increasing evidence to suggest these pathways are misregulated in cancer and could therefore be targets for cancer therapy. 

Accent will be responsible for research and development activities for a nominated pre-clinical programme through to the end of phase 1 clinical trials. 

Following completion of phase 1, AstraZeneca will lead development and marketing activities for the nominated programme, with Accent having the option to jointly develop and market with AstraZeneca in the US. 

AstraZeneca will also have the exclusive option to license worldwide rights to two further pre-clinical discovery programmes, for which Accent will conduct certain pre-clinical activities. 

Accent will receive an upfront payment of $55 million and, in the event that Accent elects to jointly develop the nominated programme, is eligible to receive up to $1.1 billion in additional success-based payments across all programmes in the form of option fees and milestone payments, as well as tiered royalties on net sales ranging from mid-single digit to low-double digits. 

In the event Accent opts into co-developing and co-marketing the nominated programme, profits and losses will be split in the US. 

José Baselga, executive vice president of oncology R&D, AstraZeneca said: “The promise of RMP inhibition is a compelling area of exploration for AstraZeneca. With this collaboration, we will seek to identify novel targets and unlock the full potential of our medicines. We believe that the Accent team’s expertise in RNA-modifying protein biology and drug discovery complements AstraZeneca’s extensive research and development portfolio.” 

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