AstraZeneca Partners With Accent To Develop Novel Cancer Treatments

UK-based pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) on Thursday announced a collaboration with Accent Therapeutics to develop targeting RNA-modifying proteins (RMPs) for the treatment of cancer.

Under the financial terms of the partnership, Accent will receive an upfront payment of $55 million and up to $1.1 billion in additional success-based payments across all therapeutic cancer programs in the form of option fees and milestone payments, as well as 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 will be split in the US, the companies said in a joint statement.

Accent will be in charge of research and development for a nominated preclinical program through to the end of Phase I clinical trials. Upon completion, AstraZeneca will lead development and commercialization for the program. Accent will have the option to jointly develop and commercialize it with AstraZeneca in the US. The U.K. drugmaker will have the exclusive option to license worldwide rights to two further preclinical discovery programs, for which Accent will conduct certain preclinical activities.

“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,” said José Baselga, Executive VP, Oncology R&D, at AstraZeneca. “We believe that the Accent team’s expertise in RNA-modifying protein biology and drug discovery complements AstraZeneca’s extensive research and development portfolio.”

Shares in AstraZeneca have jumped 46% since mid-March as the drugmaker joined the list of companies engaged in the development of a potential coronavirus vaccine. The drugmaker has reportedly been selected by the Trump administration as one among a handful of companies, to take part in a “Warp Speed” coronavirus vaccine program.

TipRanks data shows that two of the three analysts assigning a Buy rating on the stock have raised their price targets on the shares over the past month. Overall AstraZeneca scores a Strong Buy consensus from the analyst community with a $62.50 average price target which puts the upside potential at 14% in the coming 12 months. (See AstraZeneca stock analysis on TipRanks).

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