AstraZeneca joins forces with Silence to develop siRNA therapeutics

Collaboration with Silence Therapeutics has been agreed to develop small interfering RNA therapeutics that act inside the cell to influence protein production

AstraZeneca has signed a deal with Silence Therapeutics to discover, develop and commercialise small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular, renal, metabolic and respiratory diseases.

This multi-target collaboration will harness Silence’s established siRNA platform to identify and progress liver-based targets, as well as developing new delivery approaches for targeting other tissues such as the heart, lung and kidney. Targeted delivery to these other tissues represents a new opportunity to treat Cardiovascular, Renal, Metabolic and Respiratory diseases.

Mene Pangalos, EVP of BioPharmaceuticals R&D for AstraZeneca said: “This collaboration with Silence adds an exciting new modality, siRNA, into our drug discovery toolbox. Importantly we can apply this drug modality across our key therapy areas in cardiovascular, renal and metabolism and respiratory to target novel pathways not amenable to more traditional drug discovery approaches.”

Iain Ross, Executive Chairman at Silence said the platform not only provides Silence with an opportunity to collaborate on specific liver expressed gene targets but also to work with a leading company to achieve targeted delivery of siRNA molecules to other tissues including heart, kidney and lung.

Small interfering RNA

Small interfering RNA (siRNA) are double-stranded RNA molecules that offer new opportunities for therapeutic intervention because they act inside the cell to influence protein production. They do this by targeting RNA to prevent the production of disease-causing proteins.

COVID-19

Regarding the current pandemic, AstraZeneca is also donating nine million face masks to support healthcare workers around the world. AstraZeneca has partnered with the World Economic Forum’s COVID Action Platform, created with the support of the WHO, to identify countries in greatest need. Italy will receive the first shipments this week with other countries to follow.

In addition to these donations, AstraZeneca is accelerating the development of its diagnostic testing capabilities to scale-up screening and is also working in partnership with governments on existing screening programmes to supplement testing. To help ensure the continued supply of its medicines to patients, AstraZeneca will screen employees across its manufacturing and supply network.

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