LONDON - Silence Therapeutics plc (LON: SLN) (“Silence”) today announced a strategic collaboration with AstraZeneca to discover, develop and commercialize small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics for the treatment of Cardiovascular, Renal, Metabolic and Respiratory diseases. The collaboration draws on Silence’s extensive experience as a leader in the discovery, development and delivery of siRNA therapeutics together with AstraZeneca’s industry leading expertise in disease biology and target identification with the aim of developing first-in-class and differentiated therapeutics to address significant unmet need.
AstraZeneca will make an upfront cash payment of $60 million and an equity investment of $20 million in Silence. The parties anticipate initiating work on five targets within the first three years of the collaboration, with AstraZeneca having the option to extend the collaboration to a further five targets. Silence will harness its established GalNAc-siRNA platform to inhibit liver expressed gene targets and the companies will collaborate to achieve targeted delivery of siRNA molecules to other tissues including heart, kidney and lung. Delivery of siRNA molecules to the liver hepatocytes is an established approach; targeted delivery to these other tissue types represents a new and compelling opportunity to treat Cardiovascular, Renal, Metabolic and Respiratory diseases.
Under the collaboration, Silence will be responsible for designing siRNA molecules against gene targets selected by AstraZeneca, and for manufacturing of material to support GLP toxicology studies and Phase I clinical studies. AstraZeneca and Silence will collaborate during discovery phase and AstraZeneca will lead clinical development and commercialization of molecules arising from the collaboration. Silence will have the option to negotiate for co-development of two programs of their choice starting from Phase II.
AstraZeneca will pay Silence an option fee of $10 million for each selected target at the point of candidate nomination and thereafter for each target selected Silence will be eligible for up to $140 million in development milestones and up to $250 million in commercialization milestones as well as tiered royalties on net sales ranging from high single digit to low double digit.
Iain Ross, Executive Chairman at Silence said “We are delighted to announce this collaboration with AstraZeneca as it is a further validation of our proprietary siRNA platform. It not only provides us with an opportunity to collaborate on specific liver expressed gene targets but also to work with a leading company to achieve targeted delivery of siRNA molecules to other tissues including heart, kidney and lung.”
Mene Pangalos, EVP BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca said “This collaboration with Silence adds an exciting new modality, siRNA, into our drug discovery toolbox. Importantly we can apply this drug modality across our key therapy areas in cardiovascular, renal and metabolism and respiratory to target novel pathways not amenable to more traditional drug discovery approaches.”
The Silence management team will host a conference call accompanied by a live presentation and Q&A for analysts and investors at 13:00 GMT (09:00 ET) today, Wednesday 25 March 2020 to discuss this announcement. Dial-in details are below:
- Participant Dial-in (UK): 08002796619
- Participant Dial-in (USA): 18778709135
- Conference ID: 2937529
Link to the live webcast: https://edge.media-server.com/mmc/p/9oyktpze.
A replay will be available on the investor page of our website. A copy of the presentation can be downloaded from the investor page of our website.