AstraZeneca to Discover and Develop Novel Therapies Targeting RNA-Modifying Proteins in Oncology Collaboration with Accent Therapeutics

AstraZeneca will collaborate with Accent Therapeutics to discover, develop and commercialise transformative therapeutics targeting RNA-modifying proteins (RMPs) for the treatment of cancer.

This collaboration focuses on targeting RMPs, proteins that control many aspects of RNA biology and represents a new approach for addressing the process disruptions that can lead to cancer and can cause resistance to medicines. It combines AstraZeneca’s industry leading expertise bringing forward novel oncology medicines with Accent’s expertise as a leader in the biology, target identification and drug discovery of RMP-targeting therapies.

José Baselga, Executive Vice President, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca said: “The promise of RMP inhibition is a compelling area of exploration for AstraZeneca. With this collaboration, we will seek to identify novel targets and unlock the full potential of our medicines. We believe that the Accent team’s expertise in RNA-modifying protein biology and drug discovery complements AstraZeneca’s extensive research and development portfolio.”

Shakti Narayan, Chief Executive Officer, Accent Therapeutics said: “This collaboration leverages both AstraZeneca’s vast cancer expertise and resources and Accent’s rich pipeline of RMP therapeutic programmes to bring new and potentially life-changing medicines to patients. This collaborative effort will enable us to rapidly advance and achieve the rich therapeutic potential of these exciting programmes.”

Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Accent will be responsible for research and development activities for a nominated preclinical programme through to the end of Phase I clinical trials. Following completion of Phase I, AstraZeneca will lead development and commercialisation activities for the programme, with Accent having the option to jointly develop and commercialise with AstraZeneca in the US. AstraZeneca will also have the exclusive option to license worldwide rights to two further preclinical discovery programmes, for which Accent will conduct certain preclinical activities.

Financial considerations

Accent will receive an upfront payment of $55m and is eligible to receive additional success-based payments across all programmes in the form of option fees and milestone payments, as well as tiered royalties on net sales ranging from mid-single digit to low-double digits. In the event Accent opts into co-developing and co-commercialising the nominated programme, profits and losses will be split in the US.

AstraZeneca in Epigenetics

Building on decades of progress describing and targeting genetic changes identified in cancer, new technological advances have enabled a similar initiative for epigenetic biology. These epigenetic changes – not to the sequence of the genome but rather to how it is interpreted and expressed – can lead to cancer and cause resistance to current anticancer therapies. AstraZeneca believes advances in epigenomic capabilities and inhibitors targeting key processes, including chromatin remodeling and RNA modification, will advance the next wave of innovation in cancer treatment.

AstraZeneca in Oncology

AstraZeneca has a deep-rooted heritage in oncology and offers a quickly growing portfolio of new medicines that has the potential to transform patients' lives and the Company's future. With six new medicines launched between 2014 and 2020, and a broad pipeline of small molecules and biologics in development, the Company is committed to advance oncology as a key growth driver for AstraZeneca focused on lung, ovarian, breast and blood cancers. In addition to AstraZeneca's main capabilities, the Company is actively pursuing innovative partnerships and investments that accelerate the delivery of our strategy, as illustrated by the investment in Acerta Pharma in haematology.

By harnessing the power of four scientific platforms – Immuno-Oncology, Tumour Drivers and Resistance, DNA Damage Response and Antibody Drug Conjugates – and by championing the development of personalised combinations, AstraZeneca has the vision to redefine cancer treatment and one day eliminate cancer as a cause of death.


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AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/NYSE: AZN) is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three therapy areas - Oncology, Cardiovascular, Renal & Metabolism, and Respiratory & Immunology. Based in Cambridge, UK, AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.