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Isis Earns AstraZeneca Milestone

June 10, 2014

Phase I study triggers $15M payment

AstraZeneca has initiated a Phase I trial of ISIS-ARRx in patients with cancer, triggering a $15 million milestone payment to Isis Pharmaceuticals. ISIS-ARRx is an antisense drug designed to treat prostate cancer by inhibiting the production of the androgen receptor (AR). AZ plans to develop the drug to treat patients under a variety of settings during the course of prostate cancer treatment, including a single agent and in combination therapy.
"This important milestone takes us another step further to understanding how we can develop ISIS-ARRx to better treat prostate cancer – both as a single agent or in combination with other agents in the AstraZeneca portfolio.  We look forward to building our close collaboration with Isis Pharmaceuticals to complete this study and to evaluate the broader therapeutic potential of the Isis antisense technology," said Susan Galbraith, vice president, head of Oncology Innovative Medicines, AstraZeneca.
"AR is a well-validated target in prostate cancer, and as such, has been a target of interest for many years.  Our antisense approach may allow us to avoid the limitations, including the emergence of resistance, characteristic of other AR-targeted therapeutic approaches.  Furthermore, ISIS-ARRx is designed to reduce the production of all known AR variants and, as such, could be effective in patients with prostate cancer regardless of the type of AR they produce," said Brett Monia, Ph.D., senior vice president, antisense drug discovery at Isis.
The collaboration combines AZ's expertise in developing anti-cancer agents with Isis' antisense technology platform to broaden Isis' cancer franchise. To date, Isis has earned $57 million in upfront and milestone payments and is eligible to earn additional development milestones, as well as royalties on sales of ISIS-ARRx if commercialized.