AstraZeneca, Accent Therapeutics in $1.1-Billion Deal for RNA-Modifying Protein Therapeutics

June 5, 2020

The collaboration will focus on novel therapeutics targeting RNA-modifying proteins for cancer treatment.

On June 4, 2020, AstraZeneca and Accent Therapeutics, a Lexington, MA-based biopharmaceutical company specializing in small-molecule RNA-modified therapies, announced a collaboration worth over $1.1 billion to discover, develop, and commercialize novel therapeutics targeting RNA-modifying proteins (RMPs) for treating cancer.

Under the agreement, Accent will receive an upfront payment of $55 million. In the event that Accent elects to jointly develop the nominated program, it is eligible to receive up to $1.1 billion in additional success-based payments across all programs in the form of option fees, milestone payments, and tiered royalties on net sales ranging from mid-single digit to low-double digits. In the event Accent opts into co-developing and co-commercializing the nominated program, profits and losses in the United States will be split between the two companies.

Accent will be responsible for R&D activities for a nominated preclinical program through to the end of Phase I clinical trials, after which AstraZeneca will lead development and commercialization activities for the nominated program. Accent has the option to jointly develop and commercialize with AstraZeneca in the US. AstraZeneca will also have the exclusive option to license worldwide rights to two further preclinical discovery programs, for which Accent will conduct certain preclinical activities.

This collaboration will focus on targeting RMPs, proteins that control many aspects of RNA biology. This represents a new approach for addressing the process disruptions that can lead to cancer and can cause resistance to medicines, AstraZeneca stated in a company press release.

“The promise of RMP inhibition is a compelling area of exploration for AstraZeneca. With this collaboration, we will seek to identify novel targets and unlock the full potential of our medicines. We believe that the Accent team’s expertise in RNA-modifying protein biology and drug discovery complements AstraZeneca’s extensive research and development portfolio,” said José Baselga, executive vice-president, Oncology R&D, AstraZeneca in the press release.

“This collaboration leverages both AstraZeneca’s vast cancer expertise and resources and Accent’s rich pipeline of RMP therapeutic programs to bring new and potentially life-changing medicines to patients. This collaborative effort will enable us to rapidly advance and achieve the rich therapeutic potential of these exciting programs,” added Shakti Narayan, CEO, Accent Therapeutics, in the press release.

Source: AstraZeneca, Accent Therapeutics