AstraZeneca and Moderna Therapeutics Announce Collaboration

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AstraZeneca and Moderna Therapeutics set to collaborate on mRNA therapeutic candidates for the treatment of cancer.

AstraZeneca, along with its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, and Moderna Therapeutics on Jan. 11, 2016 announced 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.

The collaboration will combine MedImmune’s protein engineering and cancer biology porfolio with Moderna’s mRNA platform. mRNA-based therapies are a treatment approach that enables the body to produce therapeutic protein in vivo.

Under the terms of the new agreement, AstraZeneca and Moderna have agreed to collaborate on two specific immuno-oncology programs, based on 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 United States 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.


Under the companies’ original agreement, AstraZeneca holds exclusive access to select any target of its choice in cardiometabolic diseases, as well as select targets in oncology, over a period of up to five years for subsequent development in mRNA. Several projects are progressing towards clinical development under the arrangement, and a first-in-human study is expected to commence in late 2016.

Source: Moderna Therapeutics