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Lilly signs $1.25bn collaboration deal with MiNA Therapeutics

Lilly will pay MiNA $25m upfront as well as milestones payments of up to a total of $245m per target

Eli Lilly and London-headquartered MiNA Therapeutics have entered into a global research collaboration to develop therapies using MiNA’s small activating RNA (saRNA) technology platform.

As part of the collaboration, MiNA will apply its saRNA platform to up to five targets, chosen by Lilly, to address diseases ‘across Lilly’s therapeutic focus areas’. The specific disease targets have not yet been disclosed.

SaRNAs represent a potentially new class of medicines to restore normal function to patients’ cells by targeting gene promoters to induce RNA activation.

"Small activating RNAs are a promising new technology, which will expand the breadth of Lilly's RNA therapeutics platform and the targets we can pursue," said Andrew Adams, vice president for new therapeutic modalities at Lilly.

“We are excited about the potential of combining MiNA's leading saRNA platform and our expertise in new modalities to accelerate development of RNA-based medicines in areas of high unmet medical need,” he added.

Lilly will pay MiNA $25m upfront as well as potential development and commercialisation milestones of up to a total of $245m per target.

MiNA is also eligible to receive tiered royalties from low-single to low-double digits on any product sales resulting from the collaboration.

"This collaboration with Lilly is an important validation of our saRNA platform," said Robert Habib, chief executive officer of MiNA Therapeutics.

"Lilly's expertise in the field of RNA therapeutics and clinical development will greatly enhance our efforts to realise the technology's full potential. Together, we aim to unlock new targets in multiple therapeutic areas and to ultimately move them towards clinical development and commercialisation,” he added.

Apart from its collaboration with Lilly, MiNA is advancing a pipeline of new medicines harnessing saRNAs with an initial focus on cancer and genetic diseases.

This includes a new therapy called MTL-CEBPA, which is initially being developed as a combination therapy in cancer.

MTL-CEBPA has been evaluated as a monotherapy in a phase 1 clinical trial involving 39 patients with advanced liver cancer, as well as in a phase 1b trial in combination with sorafenib standard of care involving 36 patients with advanced liver cancer.

Across both trials, MTL-CEBPA was found to be well tolerated, and it mediated RNA activation and reduced biomarkers of immune suppression in patients involved in the phase 1 monotherapy trial.

In the combination trial, MTL-CEBPA plus sorafenib was found to produce durable and complete tumour responses, suggesting that MTL-CEBPA may increase the effectiveness of standard of care.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

11th May 2021

From: Research

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