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AZ licenses kidney drug from Ionis for $330m

Published on 21/02/18 at 10:02am

AstraZeneca continues to build on its relationship with San Diego-based Ionis Pharmaceuticals, this time by agreeing a licensing deal for a drug to be developed for the treatment of kidney disease.

The press release on the announcement did not divulge many details on what the target area actually is, only specifying that it was a designed to target a genetically associated form of kidney disease.

The candidate that AZ is forking out to license is IONIS-AZ5-2.5RX – with the 2.5 relating to the drug being a “Generation 2.5 antisense drug”.

It will cost AZ $30 million upfront and potential further $300 million later down the line, should development and regulatory milestone payments be hit. Ionis will also be eligible to receive low double-digital royalties from sales of the drug.

AZ will now should the development costs of the drug, as well as all commercialisation activities.

“This is the second drug to enter development under our strategic collaboration with AstraZeneca in cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases. IONIS-AZ5-2.5Rx is being developed to treat a genetically associated form of kidney disease with a high unmet medical need. We were able to move this program from target validation to a clinical candidate quickly, exemplifying the efficiency of our antisense platform,” said Brett P. Monia, Chief Operating Officer 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.”

AZ will be hoping the drug is more successful than the previous candidate licensed from Ionis, after it dropped AZD5312 from its pipeline back in 2016 for the treatment of prostate cancer.

The new treatment joins both AZD8233 and AZD4785 in the AZ pipeline that have also been scooped up from Ionis.

Ionis has had notable success in developing a successful drug candidate, after it brought through a treatment that became Spinraza, a therapy for spinal muscular atrophy, which has proved to be a successful earner for Biogen.

Ben Hargreaves

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