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AstraZeneca enters two new collaborations


AstraZeneca announce a new collaboration with Moderna Therapeutics  to co-develop and co-commercialise immuno-oncology mRNA therapeutics and a new lung cancer clinical trial collaboration with Incyte.

Lung cancer clinical trial collaboration

The collaboration with Incyte aims to evaluate the efficacy and safety of Incyte’s Janus-associated kinase (JAK) 1 inhibitor, INCB39110, in combination with AstraZeneca’s epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor, Tagrisso (osimertinib). The combination will be assessed as a second line treatment for patients with EGFR mutation-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), who have been treated with a first generation EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) and subsequently developed the T790M resistance mutation.

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca and Incyte will collaborate on a Phase I/II study, to be conducted by Incyte. The Phase I part of the trial is expected to establish a recommended dose regimen for the combination ofINCB39110 and Tagrisso, while the Phase II part of the study will assess the safety and efficacy profile. Results from the study will be used to determine whether further clinical development of this combination is warranted.

“We are pleased to be building on our existing relationship with Incyte and exploring a potentially exciting combination for lung cancer patients who have developed a resistance to first generation EGFR inhibitor treatment. This collaboration allows us to explore further ways in which Tagrisso, our first in class T790M-directed tyrosine kinase inhibitor, can help meet urgent unmet patient need, following its accelerated approval in the US and the recent positive CHMP opinion, recommending approval in Europe,” said Antoine Yver, Head of Oncology, Global Medicines Development at AstraZeneca.

This agreement builds on an existing collaboration between the two companies, announced in May 2014, to explore AstraZeneca’s anti-PD-L1 immune checkpoint inhibitor, durvalumab, in combination with Incyte’s oral indoleamine dioxygenase-1 (IDO1) inhibitor, epacadostat (INCB24360).

mRNA theraputic candidates

AstraZeneca, along with its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, and Moderna Therapeutics have entered a new collaboration to discover, co-develop and co-commercialise messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutic candidates for the treatment of a range of cancers. The collaboration is in addition to the agreement announced by the companies in 2013 to develop mRNA Therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases as well as selected targets in oncology.

The collaboration will combine MedImmune’s protein engineering and cancer biology expertise with Moderna’s mRNA platform. mRNA-based therapies are an innovative treatment approach that enables the body to produce therapeutic protein in vivo, opening up new treatment options for a wide range of diseases that cannot be addressed today using existing technologies.

Under the terms of the new agreement, AstraZeneca and Moderna have agreed to collaborate on two specific immuno-oncology programmes, based on promising pre-clinical data, including pharmacology in tumour models. Moderna will fund and be responsible for discovery and preclinical development of product candidates, with the aim of delivering one Investigational New Drug (IND) application-ready molecule for each of the two programmes. Moderna’s efforts will be led by its oncology-focused venture, Onkaido. AstraZeneca will be responsible for early clinical development, led by MedImmune, and Moderna and AstraZeneca will share the costs of late-stage clinical development. The two companies will co-commercialise resulting products in the US under a 50:50 profit sharing arrangement. AstraZeneca will lead ex-US commercialisation efforts, with Moderna receiving tiered royalties up to substantial double digits on ex-US sales.

“We’re pleased to be expanding our relationship with Moderna with this new collaboration, to advance the potential of pioneering messenger RNA technology in developing game-changing new treatments for cancer patients,” said Pascal Soriot, Chief Executive Officer, AstraZeneca.

Under the companies’ original strategic agreement, AstraZeneca holds exclusive access to select any target of its choice in cardiometabolic diseases, as well as select targets in oncology, over a period of up to five years for subsequent development in mRNA. Several projects are progressing towards clinical development under the arrangement, and a first-in-human study is expected to commence in late 2016.

Source: AstraZeneca