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AstraZeneca unloads another drug for $400m

Published on 29/08/17 at 02:19pm

AstraZeneca has had to do a serious re-think of its portfolio post-Mystic failure and it has made another move to raise cash, whilst still keeping an eye on development progress. The major story a month ago was its link up with MSD in the development of Imfinzi for a potential $8 billion and it has now penned a similar deal with Takeda for its Parkinson’s drug, MEDI1341.

The antibody treatment is due to enter Phase 1 clinicals trials by the end of this year and it has partnered with Takeda for a potential $400 million. The agreement will see the two companies co-develop the drug, sharing development and commercialisation costs.

The decision makes sense for both companies, with AstraZeneca keen to pare down its portfolio to its core range of treatments within oncology and Takeda keen to grab drugs to boost its sparse pipeline. Unlike AstraZeneca, Takeda also has a focus on neurosciences and the potential candidate would fit into its portfolio.

Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, Global Business Development at AstraZeneca, said: “Today there are no medicines that can slow or halt the degenerative progress of Parkinson's disease so this remains a large area of unmet medical need. Takeda has an excellent track record in neuroscience research and we are excited to be working together. By combining our scientific expertise and sharing the risks and cost of development, we hope to accelerate the advancement of MEDI1341 as a promising new approach to support the treatment of people with Parkinson’s disease around the world.”

The major potential selling point for the drug are the high selectivity AstraZeneca has highlighted in its press release, potentially meaning that it will be both more effective than current alpha-synuclein aggregate-targeting therapies. There is also a hope that the antibody will be able to display a stronger safety profile.

AstraZeneca will be responsible for the drug through Phase 1 trials, after which development will be shared between the two companies.

Ben Hargreaves

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