AstraZeneca and Rigel Sign Worldwide License Agreement for Potential New Severe Asthma Treatment

AstraZeneca and Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc., today announced an exclusive worldwide license agreement for the global development and commercialization of R256, Rigel’s inhaled JAK inhibitor shown to inhibit IL-13 and IL-4 signaling The drug is being investigated as a treatment for moderate to severe chronic asthma. In preclinical research, R256 has been shown to reduce airway inflammation and improve lung function.

AstraZeneca will be responsible for beginning first-in-human clinical studies for R256, and for designing and conducting the clinical development of the compound. AstraZeneca will have exclusive rights to commercialize R256 around the world.

Under the terms of the agreement, Rigel will receive an upfront payment of $1 million with an additional $8.25 million in early milestone payments anticipated by the end of 2013. Together with other specified developmental, regulatory and launch milestone payments, the R256 collaboration could be worth up to $100 million. Additionally, upon marketing approval of R256, Rigel will be eligible to receive tiered royalty payments on product sales.

“We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with Rigel and to develop and commercialize this novel asset, R256,” said Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of Innovative Medicines at AstraZeneca. “Despite the number of medicines available to asthma patients today, there remains a need for more targeted therapies for moderate to severe chronic asthma.”

In preclinical studies, R256, a JAK inhibitor, has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of IL-13 and IL-4 signaling at the primary cellular level. Patients with moderate to severe chronic asthma experience persistent inflammation and cellular remodeling of their airways, which may result in permanently reduced lung function if left untreated. In preclinical models, R256 reduces the severity of inflammation and improves lung function by mechanisms associated with several hallmarks of asthma such as bronchoconstriction, mucus overproduction and airway remodeling.

Source: Rigel Pharmaceuticals

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