Isis Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca announced a strategic alliance to discover and develop novel delivery methods for antisense oligonucleotides.
The new delivery approaches seek to target the desired tissue more effectively.
The agreement builds on an existing collaboration between AstraZeneca and Isis Pharmaceuticals, a leader in the field of antisense, and supports AstraZeneca's research and development capabilities in the area of antisense oligonucleotide-based therapeutics and RNA biology.
Initial project areas will be oncology and cardiovascular and metabolic diseases (CVMD).
The new delivery methods will aim to enhance the access of antisense oligonucleotides into specific organs and cells.
The methods build on Isis Pharmaceuticals' successful Ligand Conjugation Antisense (LICA) technology.
The first example of this technology being Isis' GalNac-conjugated antisense oligonucleotides targeting liver hepatocytes, which lowers the therapeutic dose needed for liver targets by approximately 10-fold.
Under the terms of the agreement, each party will fund its own contribution and commit investigators to the collaboration.
In line with AstraZeneca's open innovation approach, the companies will work together on an agreed programme and share rights to the results.
Isis can apply learnings from this collaboration broadly across its antisense technology platform and AstraZeneca can similarly apply learnings across its broader RNA-based, small molecule and antibody research and development activities.
The new delivery collaboration announced today builds on this existing relationship and is expected to also bring benefits to these programs.