Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

AstraZeneca invests another $140m in Moderna Therapeutics

PBR Staff Writer Published 11 August 2016

AstraZeneca has invested another $140m in Moderna Therapeutics, a US-based biotechnology company focused on the research and development of protein therapies based on novel messenger RNA (mRNA) technology.

The new investment, which is part of preferred-stock financing, increased AstraZeneca’s stake in Moderna to 9%.

The British drugmaker first invested in Moderna in 2013.

The agreement signed in March 2013 was focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of mRNA therapeutics to treat severe cardiovascular, metabolic and renal diseases as well as cancer.

Last month, the companies filed a clinical trial application with the Paul Ehrlich Institute and the German Federal Ministry of Health to start a phase 1 clinical trial of AZD8601, an investigational mRNA-based therapy that encodes for vascular endothelial growth factor-A.

AstraZeneca and Moderna have also joined forces in January of this year to develop and commercialize mRNA candidates for the treatment of a range of cancers.

The companies are collaborating on two specific immuno-oncology programmes, depending on promising pre-clinical data, including pharmacology in tumour models.

Moderna will fund and be responsible for discovery and preclinical development of product candidates.

The company intends to deliver one investigational new drug application-ready molecule for each of the two programmes.

Moderna’s oncology-focused venture, Onkaido, is leading the company’s efforts.

AstraZeneca will be responsible for early clinical development, led by its global biologics research and development unit MedImmune.

Image: AstraZeneca invests another $140m in Moderna Therapeutics. Photo: courtesy of AstraZeneca.