AstraZeneca and Imperial spin-off VaxEquity enter into saRNA partnership
AstraZeneca has signed a collaboration deal with VaxEquity, a spin-off of Imperial College London, for discovering, developing, and commercializing the latter’s self-amplifying RNA (saRNA) therapeutics platform.
The long-term research collaboration is aimed at optimizing and validating the saRNA platform of VaxEquity to use it for advancing novel therapeutic programs.
AstraZeneca will support the Imperial College London spin-off by funding research and development. In case of the pharma giant advancing any of the research programs into its pipeline, VaxEquity will be entitled to development, approval, and sales-based milestones totaling up to $195 million along with royalties in the mid-single digits per program.
Mene Pangalos — AstraZeneca Executive Vice President of BioPharmaceuticals R&D said: “This collaboration with VaxEquity adds a promising new platform to our drug discovery toolbox. We believe self-amplifying RNA, once optimized, will allow us to target novel pathways not amenable to traditional drug discovery across our therapy areas of interest.”
AstraZeneca holds the option to work together with VaxEquity on up to 26 drug targets. The pharma giant will also make an investment in the Imperial College London spin-off to advance the development of its saRNA platform.
Imperial College London had founded VaxEquity alongside Morningside in 2020. The start-up was founded based on the saRNA technology developed by Professor Robin Shattock and his teammates at Imperial College London.
Michael Watson — Executive Chairman of VaxEquity said: “We are delighted to collaborate with AstraZeneca given its strong track record in innovation and welcome them as a new investor. We are also grateful for the ongoing support of our existing investor, Morningside Group.
“With our self-amplifying RNA platform, we aim to underpin the next generation of RNA-delivered medicines enabling not only vaccines but also broad range of therapeutics applications.”