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GEN News Highlights : Apr 22, 2013

Horizon, AstraZeneca Seek Kinase-Targeting Cancer Drugs

Horizon Discovery and AstraZeneca are teaming up to explore Horizon’s first-in-class kinase target program, HD-001, as a means of developing novel therapies for multiple cancer types. Horizon will receive undisclosed up-front and preclinical milestone payments, and is eligible for clinical and approval milestones totaling up to $75 million, as well as tiered royalties.

The firms say that the HD-001 program, currently in the early stages, has the potential to be developed into a treatment based on modulation of a novel kinase. This target has been shown to be mutated in a range of cancer types including colon and lung. The target has also been shown to play a key role in K-Ras mutant tumors. K-Ras is mutated in up to 40% of all cancer types causing resistance to many of the available targeted therapeutics and as a result is associated with poor patient outcomes.

“The program has benefitted greatly from the use of Horizon’s drug discovery toolbox to first exquisitely validate the target and then provide a range of ‘on-target’ cellular assays to support rational drug discovery,” Darrin M. Disley, Ph.D., CEO at Horizon Discovery, said. “As a result, the lead discovery effort has been rapid, resulting in a diverse portfolio of potent and selective inhibitors of the target.”

In a separate deal said to be worth over $200 million, AZ will also be working with BIND Therapeutics to develop and commercialize a targeted and programmable cancer nanomedicine. Find out more about that deal here.