Four new collaborations to move the world of drug R&D

Collaborations are part of the lifeblood of the pharmaceutical industry. At the start of 2022, several companies have partnerships already announced which will advance the potential of new drugs in various disease indications. And this trend continues today with more collaborative agreements.

Alnylam and Novartis join forces

Two industry giants, Alnylam Pharmaceuticals and Novartis have twinned in an RNA pact. The companies aim to take advantage of Alnylam’s siRNA technology in the treatment of liver disease. The collaboration will use siRNA to inhibit a target discovered by Novartis, which could lead to the regrowth of functioning liver cells. And it could provide an alternative to liver transplants in patients with organ failure.

Currently, a liver transplant is the only treatment for end-stage liver failure. There is a significant need for medicinal alternatives to transplants that “regenerate liver tissue and restore essential metabolic and synthetic processes that are handled by the liver,” the companies said.

As part of the three-year research collaboration, Alnylam will develop and test potential siRNAs that use target-specific assays developed by the Swiss pharmaceutical giants. Novartis will take over development and clinical research when a lead candidate is identified.

Jay Bradner, president of the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research, said the partnership with Alnylam builds on a “legacy of leadership in regenerative medicine”. With siRNA technology, the goal is to bring a transformative benefit to patients with hepatic impairment.

2seventy and Novo Nordisk join forces in gene therapy

270 organic and Novo Nordisk entered a license agreement for the development of an in vivo gene editing treatment for hemophilia A. Novo Nordisk has the option to license the megaTAL technology based on the proprietary mRNA of 2seventy bio. They intend to exploit the megaTAL technology to develop a new approach for patients with hemophilia A. The aim is to create a treatment that offers a sustained therapeutic effect.

2seventy bio’s megaTAL technology has the potential to provide a very specific and effective means of “silencing, modifying or inserting genetic components”. Hemophilia A is a genetic bleeding disorder that results from defective factor VIII.

The partnership between the two companies builds on previous hemophilia research conducted by Novo Nordisk and bluebird bio.

Under the terms of the agreement, 2seventy bio will receive an upfront payment of $ 5 million. The company is also eligible for milestone payments as well as a net sales royalty. Novo Nordisk will be responsible for funding all research and development activities.

Sosei and Verily team up to develop drug candidates against GPCR targets

from Japan Sosei group company and the alphabet In truth forged a strategic collaboration for advance understanding of the biology of GPCRs in immune cells and develop therapies against these targets. The agreement combines the complementary capabilities of Verily’s immune profiling and the structure-based drug design of Sosei Heptares G-Protein Coupled Receptors (GPCRs).

The two companies intend to better understand the biology of GPCRs for uses in immunology, gastroenterology, immuno-oncology and other disorders with immunoprotective or immunopathogenic mechanisms. Through the use of Sosei’s StaR (stabilized receptor) platform, the companies aim to create flagship molecules for further development or licensing.

Financial terms of the collaboration were not disclosed.

Janssen and TRexBio partner on immune-mediated disease

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, a Janssen company, and TRexBio, Inc. have forged a multi-year research and licensing collaboration for the discovery of novel tissue-targeted therapies that harness the capabilities of TRexBio’s proprietary deep biology platform.

Currently, TRexBio uses its platform to generate information on the immune regulation of human tissues. From there, the company can identify new therapeutic targets by focusing on modulating the regulatory T cell (Treg) response. Both companies will use the TRexBio platform to discover new targets to address unmet needs in immune-mediated diseases. Janssen will be responsible for the clinical development and commercialization of therapeutic products resulting from the collaboration.

Details of financial terms were not disclosed. TRex said Janssen will provide the company with upfront payment, option fees, milestones and royalties.


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