AstraZeneca’s biologics arm MedImmune is partnering with NGM Biopharmaceuticals to discover, develop, and commercialize therapies for type 2 diabetes and obesity from the latter firm’s enteroendocrine cell (EEC) program.

Under the terms of the agreement, MedImmune and NGM will jointly advance peptide and antibody drug candidates based on EEC hormones. From there, MedImmune will have to option to license in the resulting targets, and will be responsible for the global development, manufacture, and commercialization of compounds resulting from the collaboration.

MedImmune will make an upfront payment and provide NGM research funding throughout the collaboration. NGM is entitled to receive various payments, as well as royalties on worldwide product sales if certain development, regulatory, and commercial milestones are achieved. Additional financial terms were not disclosed.

“We believe that hormones found in the gastrointestinal tract can play an important role in resolving diabetes after bariatric surgery. Through NGM’s innovative research in metabolic disease, we believe our collaboration could lead to potential innovative medicines for diabetes and obesity that will make a difference in patients’ lives,” MedImmune’s Cristina Rondinone, Ph.D., who leads the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Innovative Medicines Unit, said in a statement. “Our partnership with NGM complements AstraZeneca’s existing small molecule and biologics portfolio in cardiovascular and metabolic disease, one of our core therapy areas.”

Added Jin-Long Chen, Ph.D., founder, president, and CSO, NGM: “We are excited to enter into this strategic partnership with MedImmune as it represents a unique opportunity to maximize the full complement of novel hormones secreted by these EECs for drug discovery purposes.”

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