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AZ and Silence extend collaboration

A one-year continuation to a project between AstraZeneca and Silence Therapeutics developing five siRNA programmes has been announced

A joint research and development project between UK-based firms, AstraZeneca (AZ) and Silence Therapeutics, investigating five novel short interfering RNA (siRNA) molecules for respiratory and oncology indications, has been extended for a year.

Under the agreement, which was established in 2007, Silence has worked with several of AZ's operational units, including MedImmune in the US, as well as AZ teams in Sweden, the UK and China, to develop the siRNA molecules identified. AZ retains full responsibility for their clinical development and commercialisation.

In addition to the initial £7.5m access fee paid to Silence in July 2007, the collaboration could generate up to £200m in fees and milestone payments plus royalties on product sales. The terms of this agreement are independent of Silence's siRNA delivery collaboration with AZ, which was also extended in April 2010.

Dr Philip Haworth, CEO of Silence, said: "The extension of our development collaboration with AstraZeneca is testament to the successful relationship and the progress made in this collaboration. Both teams are working closely together to optimise the five therapeutic programmes based on Silence's leading siRNA technology, in addition to our collaboration investigating new delivery approaches for RNA interference. AstraZeneca is a strong endorsement of our technology and we are delighted to continue working together."

Thomas Eichholtz, vice president respiratory and inflammation research area of AZ, commented: "AstraZeneca remains committed to the development of new therapeutic technologies that have the potential to create novel therapies. We are very pleased with the progress we have made in our collaborative agreement with Silence Therapeutics."

14th July 2010

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