AstraZeneca taps APT in latest deal

Dive Brief:

  • AstraZeneca has inked a deal for APT Therapeutics' antithrombotic APT102, a recombinant form of apyrase. The drug has shown in animal models that it improves clotting without causing bleeding. 
  • In return for the research collaboration, option and asset purchase agreement, APT gets an upfront cash payment and milestone payments; AstraZeneca will fund all heart attack and stroke clinical trials. Further financial details were not provided.
  • AstraZeneca has been shifting its portfolio, shedding non-core assets in several sales at the end of 2016 and narrowing its pipeline to focus on oncology, respiratory and cardio-metabolic. 

Dive Insight:

The market for antithrombotics and thrombolytics that reduce cardiovascular issues for patients undergoing surgical and other procedures, or following a heart attack or stroke, is a large and established one, but these drugs can cause complications due to bleeding.

APT Therapeutics hopes that it can replicate the preclinical outcomes for its recombinant lead molecule, APT102, in clinical trials. In animals, APT102 reduced clot formation with a fast onset and protected the heart without increasing the risk of bleeding. By allying itself with global biopharma company AstraZeneca, APT Therapeutics gains access to R&D and commercialization expertise.

"AstraZeneca is a global leader in cardiovascular drug development and marketing with extensive expertise in antithrombotic therapy, which makes it an ideal partner to help us achieve APT102's therapeutic and market potential," said Ridong Chen, president and CEO of APT Therapeutics. "By combining their strengths with our own research and development expertise in human apyrase therapy, we have a great opportunity to develop a breakthrough drug that will safely and substantially improve the lives of millions of patients worldwide."

It also provides AstraZeneca with an additional early-stage candidate for its pipeline, which has potential to be used alone or in combination with other agents.

"We are constantly building our portfolio in the cardiovascular disease area with projects and technologies that demonstrate innovative mechanisms of action and are relevant to patients with unmet medical needs. The science behind APT102 provides a differentiated opportunity for cardio-protection during the critical acute phase after a heart attack or stroke," said Marcus Schindler, VP of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases in Innovative Medicines and Early Development at AstraZeneca.

AstraZeneca had a busy 2016 for dealmaking, as it worked to shed assets and in-license products that helped its newly-aligned focus on cancer, and on respiratory and cardiovascular disease.

MedImmune, AstraZeneca's biologics division, inked a deal with Abpro to create the company AbMed, focused on a preclinical cancer candidate. Hooking up together for the second time over Alzheimer's, AstraZeneca and Eli Lilly & Co. signed a deal over a monoclonal antibody candidate.

In a deal worth up to $1 billion by the smaller biotech, Bicycle Therapeutics signed a partnership with AstraZeneca for bicyclic peptides. AstraZeneca has also exercised an option to license an antisense agent from Ionis Pharmaceuticals, resulting in a $28 million milestone payment.

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Filed Under: Mergers and Acquisitions / Deals