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Shire extends rare genetic disease alliance

Agrees option with Santaris to nominate additional discovery targets

Shire has expanded its rare genetic disease alliance with Danish biopharmaceutical company Santaris.

The firms have agreed a deal for Santaris to work on a number of unspecified drug discovery targets using its locked nucleic acid (LNA) discovery platform.

A type of modified RNA nucleotide, LNA potentially offer a way to develop drug candidates that work through previously inaccessible clinical pathways.

Albert Seymour, VP of Discovery Research at Shire, said: "Our hope is that the partnership will eventually translate into novel drugs that will help patients suffering from debilitating rare diseases lead better lives."   

Under the terms of the extended agreement, Shire will have the right to nominate additional collaboration targets for drug discovery and development. 

In turn, Santaris will receive an upfront payment and is eligible for research support, pre-clinical, clinical and sales milestones and royalties on each product emerging from the collaboration.

The Danish clinical stage biopharmaceutical company's president and CEO Henrik Stage said the collaboration was a very important one for Santaris.

He added: “We believe the LNA drug platform offers a unique opportunity to develop drugs against the rapidly expanding number of disease targets in the rare genetic disorder space."

The company says its LNA platform overcomes the limitations of earlier antisense and siRNA technologies and can potently and specifically inhibit RNA targets in many different tissues without the need for complex delivery vehicles.

In addition to the rare disease agreement with Shire, Santaris is currently harnessing its technology to develop LNA-based drug candidates against RNA targets, both mRNA and microRNA.

These cover a range of diseases that include cardiometabolic disorders and cancer and involve strategic partnerships with the likes of Bristol-Myers Squibb, Pfizer and GlaxoSmithKline.

Santaris' most advanced product candidate is its hepatitis C targeted LNA drug miravirsen, phase II clinical trials of which have just completed enrollment for a 12-week study.

27th August 2013

From: Research

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