RARE Daily

Redx Licenses Preclinical IPF Therapy to AstraZeneca

August 4, 2020

Rare Daily Staff

U.K. biotech REDX said it has granted AstraZeneca an exclusive global license for its porcupine inhibitor RXC006 for up to $17 million in early milestone payments.

AstraZeneca will take RXC006 forward into clinical development, targeting fibrotic diseases including idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF).

“Fibrotic diseases, such as idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, have significant impact on patients’ lives and new therapies are urgently needed,” said Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca.

IPF is a serious, life-limiting lung disease characterized by fibrosis and scarring of lung tissue with a median survival of 3 to 5 years after diagnosis. Replacement of normal lung tissue by fibrosis results in restriction in the ability to fill the lungs with air and decreased transfer of oxygen from inhaled air into the bloodstream resulting in lower oxygen delivery to the brain and other organs. Patients with IPF most often suffer from progressive shortness of breath, particularly with exertion; chronic cough; fatigue and weakness; and chest discomfort.

Currently approved drugs slow down but do not halt disease progression and the only curative therapy is lung transplant, an option available for a small group of patients. While estimates vary, it is believed that IPF could affect approximately 130,000 patients in the United States and approximately 76,000 patients in Europe.

Porcupine inhibition is a novel anti-fibrotic approach that suppresses Wnt ligand secretion from pro-fibrotic cells. Wnt ligands are known to be strong drivers of fibrotic mechanisms and are highly expressed in diseases such as IPF. Wnt ligands regulate multiple aspects of disease biology so porcupine inhibition presents a potentially powerful anti-fibrotic approach.

“We are excited by the potential of porcupine inhibition as a novel approach to tackling fibrotic-associated diseases where there is a real patient need,” said Lisa Anson, CEO of Redx Pharma.

Under the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will pay Redx several early milestones that amount to $17 million, by the time of successful commencement of a phase 1 study.  In addition, Redx is eligible to receive up to a further $360 million contingent on successfully reaching development, regulatory and commercial milestone throughout the course of the program.  Redx is also eligible for tiered royalties of mid-single digit percentages, based on any future net sales.

Photo: Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of biopharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca

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