Pfizer is paying Santaris Pharma $14 million up front to expand their collaboration related to RNA-targeted medicines using Santaris’ locked nucleic acid (LNA) drug platform. Santaris Pharma is eligible to receive milestone fees of up to $600 million as well as royalties on sales of products that may be developed for up to 10 new RNA targets selected by Pfizer.
The alliance builds on a deal inked in January 2009 between Santaris Pharma and Wyeth, which was acquired by Pfizer in 2009 for $68 billion. Under the original arrangement, Wyeth chose 10 targets for drug discovery, paid $7 million in cash up front, and made a $10 million equity investment. Santaris Pharma was also entitled to receive $83 million in milestones for each of 10 potential targets and royalties on the worldwide sales of all resulting products.
Santaris Pharma continues to be eligible to receive milestones and royalties under the original alliance. Pfizer says that it has advanced several programs under the original collaboration and reached a number of early milestones since the inception of the collaboration.
The LNA platform uses single-stranded LNA chemistry to enable the combination of small size and high affinity. This gives LNA-based drugs the ability to potently and specifically inhibit RNA targets in different tissues, according to Santaris. LNA-based drugs demonstrate favorable pharmacokinetic and tissue-penetrating properties that allow systemic delivery, the company adds.
Santaris Pharma’s R&D focus is on infectious diseases and metabolic disorders, while partnerships include a range of therapeutic areas including cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious and inflammatory diseases, and rare genetic disorders. The firm has collaborations with Enzon Pharmaceuticals, GlaxoSmithKline, miRagen Therapeutics, Pfizer, and Shire.