MedImmune in-licenses Shionogi biologic program in ACS

MedImmune gains exclusive rights to Shionogi's cardiovascular biologic program and will be responsible for any future commercialization

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GAITHERSBURG, Md. & OSAKA, Japan—A global license agreement was struck this week between MedImmune, AstraZeneca's global biologics research and development arm, and Shionogi & Co., Ltd., under which MedImmune will in-license Shionogi's novel preclinical biologic program for the potential treatment of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). As explained by the American Heart Association, ACS is “an umbrella term for situations where the blood supplied to the heart muscle is suddenly blocked.” Heart attacks and unstable angina are both examples of ACS.
 
Per the terms of the deal, MedImmune will acquire exclusive rights to Shionogi's cardiovascular biologic program and will assume responsibility for all future research, development and manufacturing. This program acts on a biological mechanism that plays a physiological role in the metabolism of high-density lipoprotein (HDL), also known as “good” cholesterol. HDL works to move cholesterol out of blood vessels and plaques, and higher HDL levels have the potential to decrease individuals' residual risk of cardiovascular disease. AstraZeneca will assume responsibility for any future commercialization, and Shionogi will have an option to co-market in Japan. No financial details were disclosed for this agreement.
 
“Cardiovascular and metabolic disease (CVMD) is a core therapeutic area for MedImmune, and Shionogi’s biologic program will be a valuable and strategic complement to our existing cardiovascular program,” Cristina Rondinone, vice president and head of MedImmune's CVMD Innovative Medicines Unit, commented in a statement. “We are committed to sourcing the best scientific research across the globe. We were pleased to identify this early-stage program and will work to advance its research and development as quickly as possible to hopefully bring an important new medicine to ACS patients.”
 
AstraZeneca and Shionogi have an existing relationship, as the companies co-market Crestor, the popular statin for lowering high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, in Japan. AstraZeneca in-licensed the drug from Shionogi in 1998.
 
“Shionogi and AstraZeneca have been working together to bring CRESTOR to patients for nearly two decades. Such a positive relationship created the foundation for this agreement with MedImmune,” Kohji Hanasaki, Ph.D., corporate officer, senior vice president, Pharmaceutical Research Division at Shionogi. “Shionogi is now pursuing research and development in the therapeutic areas to which we should devote resources in the new medium-term business plan. We think that this biologic program gets the best chance of success by joining our promising research with MedImmune’s proven capabilities for advancing biologic research as well as AstraZeneca’s commercial capabilities in marketing cardiovascular therapies.”
 
In other recent news for MedImmune, the company announced a collaboration on Sept. 25 with Cancer Research UK to establish a joint laboratory in Cambridge, U.K., which will focus on discovering and developing novel biologic cancer treatments over an initial five-year period. Investigators from both organizations will work together on a number of cancer projects at the new CRUK-MEDI Alliance Laboratory. Cancer Research UK will provide setup and operational funding for the lab, in addition to contributing a portfolio of novel drug targets, while MedImmune will oversee lab activities and provide access to its human antibody phage display libraries and antibody-engineering technologies.


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