Ethris and AstraZeneca to collaborate on the development of mRNA therapies for respiratory diseases

AstraZeneca, a prominent leader in global pharmaceutical market, has recently announced a five-year strategic research collaboration with the German biotech start-up, Ethris. Ethris is a key player specializing in mRNA-based therapeutics, and boasts of excellent proficiency in the treatment of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis. This collaboration is apparently set to develop pulmonary treatments using Ethris’ proprietary RNA technology that helps in the replacement, inhibition, or augmentation of proteins that cause respiratory disorders.

Through this agreement, Ethris stands to receive an upfront amount of EUR 25 million (USD 29 million or GBP 23 million) from AstraZeneca and its biotech research and development division, MedImmune to work on respiratory diseases.

Biotech drugs that are used today are commonly made up of proteins, which are produced by genetically modifying rodent, bacteria or yeast cells. Ethris’ mRNA platform however, can be targeted to the lungs where it can help the messenger RNA drugs to instruct the cells in the patient’s body and produce the therapeutic proteins by themselves. This approach is likely to offer a novel way to tackle many supposedly untreatable treat diseases ranging from infections and heart disorders to kidney diseases and cancer.

For the uninitiated, from the time since the Anglo-Swedish pharmaceutical industry giant has acquired the Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, its key focus has been the development of the respiratory drugs for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. The agreement with Ethris is not AstraZeneca’s first foray into mRNA technology. In 2016, the company invested USD 140 million (GBP 109 million) in Moderna Therapeutics, after which the company’s stake moved up by 9%.

AstraZeneca’s investment in Ethris comes on the heels of the company’s disappointing Phase III Mystic trial for lung cancer drugs. Experts claim that this deal is AstraZeneca’s pathway to getting back into the mainstream pharma realm. The firm certainly seems to be looking forward to bouncing back by securing the option to license the fruit of its collaboration with Ethris.

Ethris has smartly spent numerous years on researching the pulmonary delivery of mRNA, which has now enabled the company to pick up any big brand as a partner. Undeniably, this collaboration is a testament of Ethris’ leading position in the development and as well as the delivery of mRNA therapies for respiratory diseases. With the commercialization of these novel RNA drugs, the collaboration is expected to bring forward new options for patients suffering from respiratory ailments.

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Ojaswita Kutepatil

Ojaswita Kutepatil develops content for Market Size Forecasters. A mechanical engineer by qualification, worked as a BDE and Technical Engineer before switching her profession to content writing. As an Associate Content writer, where she pens down write-ups pertaining to the market research industry...

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