Horizon Discovery and AstraZeneca have entered into a research, collaboration and license agreement to explore a range of oncology-relevant genotypes with the aim of identifying and validating a number of novel drug targets.
This deal is the second collaboration between AstraZeneca and Horizon, and follows the announcement in April 2013 of an oncology discovery program to explore Horizon’s first-in-class kinase target program, HD-001. The HD-001 program recently won the SCRIP Award for ‘Licensing Deal of the Year’ for 2013.
Under the terms of the agreement a defined set of genotypes will be queried by Horizon for synthetic lethality. Horizon will carry out in vitro screening activities using its proprietary siRNA Platform. RNAi hits resulting from this first stage will then be validated by Horizon, through techniques including pathway analysis, confirmation of activity in endogenously mutant vs. wild type cell lines (X-MAN™), functional assays, or gene knock-in/knockout assays. AstraZeneca may exercise exclusivity over any validated targets.
Susan Galbraith, Head of the Oncology Innovative Medicines Unit at AstraZeneca, commented: “AstraZeneca’s strategy of collaborating with innovative organizations like Horizon allows us to broaden our oncology research efforts and complement our own internal capabilities. Partnering Horizon’s excellent capabilities in synthetic lethal screens and validation with our strong oncology discovery and development expertise offers real potential to address the need for novel cancer therapeutics, and ultimately to make a difference to patients.”
Under the terms of the agreement, Horizon will receive an undisclosed upfront payment, and is eligible for subsequent payments of up to $88 million in milestones if compounds are developed by AstraZeneca against an undisclosed number of targets identified through the research collaboration.