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AstraZeneca and Moderna in Oncology Collab

January 11, 2016

Moderna to lead preclinical development; AstraZeneca to lead clinical development

AstraZeneca, along with its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, and Moderna Therapeutics have formed a new collaboration to discover, co-develop and co-commercialize messenger RNA (mRNA) therapeutic candidates for the treatment of a range of cancers. The collaboration is in addition to the agreement announced by the companies in 2013 to develop mRNA Therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases as well as selected targets in oncology.

“We’re pleased to be expanding our relationship with Moderna with this new collaboration, to advance the potential of pioneering messenger RNA technology in developing game-changing new treatments for cancer patients.”

The collaboration will combine MedImmune’s protein engineering and cancer biology expertise with Moderna’s mRNA platform. mRNA-based therapies are an innovative treatment approach that enables the body to produce therapeutic protein in vivo, opening up new treatment options for a wide range of diseases that cannot be addressed today using existing technologies, according to the company.

AstraZeneca and Moderna have agreed to collaborate on two specific immuno-oncology programs, based on promising pre-clinical data, including pharmacology in tumor models. Moderna will fund and be responsible for discovery and preclinical development of product candidates, with the aim of delivering one investigational new drug (IND) application-ready molecule for each of the two programs.

Moderna’s efforts will be led by its oncology-focused venture, Onkaido. AstraZeneca will be responsible for early clinical development, led by MedImmune, and Moderna and AstraZeneca will share the costs of late-stage clinical development. The two companies will co-commercialize resulting products in the US under a 50:50 profit sharing arrangement. AstraZeneca will lead ex-US commercialization efforts, with Moderna receiving tiered royalties up to substantial double digits on ex-US sales.