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AstraZeneca, MedImmune, Ethris to develop mRNA therapies for respiratory diseases

PBR Staff Writer Published 22 August 2017

AstraZeneca and its research and development arm MedImmune have entered into five-year strategic research collaboration with Ethris to develop mRNA therapies for respiratory diseases.

Under the deal, the partnership will develop new stabilised non-immunogenic modified RNA therapies (mRNA) for respiratory diseases by using Ethris’ SNIM RNA technology.

As per terms of the agreement, Ethris will secure €25m upfront payment, as well as research funding. The firm will also secure future research and development milestones, including sales related royalties.

The deal will also provide AstraZeneca and MedImmune with flexibility to take exclusive worldwide licenses upon completion of the research plan for each target within the partnership.

The mRNA therapies are said to provide genetic instructions to cells, which aim the target cells to produce selected proteins to help prevent or fight diseases.

Ethris’ mRNA technology will be used to target lungs, helping to replace, inhibit or increase proteins that are engaged in inducing or exacerbating respiratory disease.

Ethris will use SNIM RNA technology exclusively with AstraZeneca through MedImmune and Innovative Medicines (IMED) biotech units to develop various new targets to study diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Ethris president and CEO Dr Carsten Rudolph said: “This collaboration validates Ethris’ leading position in development and delivery of mRNA therapies for the treatment of pulmonary diseases.

“This collaboration pairs our proprietary technology with the world-class expertise of AstraZeneca and MedImmune in respiratory diseases, biologics development and commercialisation, and positions us to bring forward new options for patients.”

MedImmune executive vice president Bahija Jallal said: “Rapid advances over the last decade have made mRNA a very promising tool for clinical application, and we are excited to collaborate with Ethris, whose advanced platform is leading in RNA delivery to the lung.”


Image: AstraZeneca, MedImmune and Ethris will develop mRNA therapies for respiratory diseases. Photo: courtesy of AstraZeneca.