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AstraZeneca expands personalised drug partnership with Horizon

Companies will research drug targets for targeted cancer treatments
AstraZeneca AZ headquarters London UK

AstraZeneca (AZ) has signed a deal with UK genomics company Horizon Discovery to research genetic drug targets for personalised cancer treatments.

The deal adds to an existing collaboration between the two companies that saw AZ and Horizon sign a $75m deal in April 2013 to research Horizon's HD-001 – an investigational programme targeting a kinase enzyme that has been shown to be mutated in a number of cancers.

The latest collaboration expands the companies' efforts in targeting genetic mutations and covers a set of genotypes that Horizon will investigate using its siRNA platform before being validated through further tests and assays.

Horizon will receive an undisclosed upfront payment from AZ and is eligible for subsequent milestone payments up to $88m if AZ goes on to develop compounds discovered by Horizon. AZ may exercise exclusivity over any validated targets.

Susan Galbraith, head of the oncology innovative medicines unit at AZ, explained that the agreement was part of the more collaborative approach to research the company has take since Pascal Soriot became CEO in 2012.

"AstraZeneca's strategy of collaborating with innovative organisations like Horizon allows us to broaden our oncology research efforts and complement our own internal capabilities,” she said.

Other recent oncology agreements made by AZ since Soriot's appointment include a research alliance with Cancer Research UK; a cancer biomarker deal with Oxford Cancer Biomarkers; a drug licensing deal with nano-engineering firm Bind Therapeutics; and a collaboration to develop messenger RNA therapeutics with Moderna Therapeutics.

The location of Horizon is also beneficial to AZ as the company is based in Cambridge – the city that AZ picked last year to be its new global headquarters and research hub after announcing it was downsizing its bases in Cheshire and London.

Article by
Thomas Meek

7th January 2014

From: Research

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