Kidney Disease Drug Licensed to AstraZeneca

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. was paid $30 million upfront for the antisense drug.

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced the licensing of their IONIS-AZ5-2.5Rx(AZD2373) drug to AstraZeneca. IONIS-AZ5-2.5Rx –which is a Generation 2.5 antisense drug, is able to work by inhibiting a target (the target remain proprietary) for the treatment of a form of kidney disease that is linked with genetics.

Ionis specializes in RNA-targeted drug discovery for patients with rare and severe diseases. The company’s pipeline currently includes over 30 drugs that are on the market. Ionis and AstraZeneca have a partnership in place focused on escalating antisense technology and the discovery and development of antisense therapies for cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases. To date, the partnership with Ionis has generated more than $220 million for AstraZeneca in the areas of oncology and cardiometabolic and kidney disease.

"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, Ph.D., Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of antisense drug discovery and translational medicine 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," added Monia. 

As part of the financial terms of this agreement, Ionis will receive $30 million upfront from AstraZeneca in exchange for IONIS-AZ5-2.5Rx –the company is also able to receive up to $300 million in additional development and regulatory milestone payments, as well as tiered, low double-digit royalties from sales of this potential new medicine.


Nigel Walker

Mr. Walker is the founder and managing director of That’s Nice LLC, a research-driven marketing agency with 20 years dedicated to life sciences. Nigel harnesses the strategic capabilities of Nice Insight, the research arm of That’s Nice, to help companies communicate science-based visions to grow their businesses. Mr. Walker earned a bachelor’s degree in graphic design with honors from London College of Communication, University of the Arts London, England.