AstraZeneca Adds New Antisense Drugs to its Pipeline

05/08/2015 - 2 minutes

Isis Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca extend their collaboration to discover and develop antisense therapies. After cancer, the partners are now targeting cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases.

Antisense drugs are short, chemically modified, single-stranded nucleic acids (antisense oligonucleotides) that have the ability to target any gene product of interest. They offer new opportunities for therapeutic intervention because they act inside the cell to influence protein production by targeting RNA. Their effects either prevent the production of disease-causing proteins, increase the production of proteins deficient in disease, or target toxic RNAs that are unable to generate proteins.

AstraZeneca will pay an upfront fee of $65 million (approximately €59m) to Isis Pharmaceuticals plus development and regulatory milestones for each program that AstraZeneca advances to clinical development. Isis Pharmaceuticals is also eligible to earn double-digit royalties on annual net sales for each program that goes on the market.

“Antisense-based therapies are rapidly gaining momentum in the clinic and becoming an important component of our early stage pipeline. This collaboration combines the world-class antisense drug research capabilities of Isis with our expertise in cardiovascular,

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