AstraZeneca and Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC), a research-driven pharmaceutical company based in Japan, have announced a three-year research collaboration in diabetic nephropathy. The aim is to leverage complementary strengths, expertise and assets to validate and progress novel research targets and molecules into clinical development.
The collaboration will span from target selection up to the delivery of small molecule candidate drugs. Targets from each company’s early research portfolios have been identified as approaches of common interest, and additional targets may be included under the collaboration at a later stage if mutually desired. The research will be performed in parallel at AZ’s Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disease Innovative Medicines Unit (CVMD iMed) in Mölndal, Sweden, and at MTPC’s facilities in Japan.
The companies believe that the collaboration will yield high quality candidate drugs much faster than working alone. There is no financial commitment for the research involved and each party will contribute equal resource at their own cost.
Diabetic nephropathy (failure of the kidney function due to diabetes) occurs in as many as 50% of patients who have diabetes for 20 years or more. It is the leading cause of end stage renal disease, which carries significant morbidity of cardiovascular disease and mortality.
“Diabetes is a core therapeutic area for AZ and a key growth platform for the company. With current approaches to diabetic nephropathy resulting in patients needing expensive and limited treatment options, such as dialysis or kidney transplantation, there’s a significant unmet clinical need. This collaboration will allow us to focus on early stage programs and generate decision-making data faster than working alone, ultimately providing a quicker expansion of our diabetic nephropathy portfolio for the treatment of chronic kidney disease,” said Marcus Schindler, head of CVMD innovative medicines unit, AZ.
“MTPC now is focusing its drug discovery research efforts and multifaceted translational research, including collaboration with Kyoto University Hospital and TMK project, to developing new treatments for chronic kidney disease patients,” said Takashi Kobayashi, division manager of research division, MTPC.