Biopharmaceuticals Cytokinetics and Astellas Pharma are collaborating on the research, development and commercialization of skeletal muscle activators. The primary objective of the collaboration is to advance novel therapies for diseases and medical conditions associated with muscle weakness. The companies will jointly conduct research in the area of skeletal muscle activation.
Cytokinetics will combine its position in the discovery and mechanistic biology of small molecule activators of skeletal muscle contractility with Astellas' pharmaceutical discovery, development and commercialization capabilities. During the two year collaboration, the companies will focus on expanding emerging opportunities in skeletal muscle contractility and will identify, characterize and optimize fast skeletal troponin activators and other potential novel mechanism skeletal muscle activators.
The joint research program is designed to leverage the companies' capabilities in discovery technologies, medicinal chemistry, analytical chemistry, structural biology, computational chemistry and the pharmacology of muscle contractility.
Cytokinetics is eligible to receive $40 million in an upfront payment and reimbursement of sponsored R&D activities during the collaboration. Cytokinetics also is eligible to receive over $450 million in pre-commercialization and commercialization milestones plus royalties. The parties will jointly research to identify next-generation skeletal muscle activators to be nominated as drug candidates. Astellas will be responsible for the activities and costs associated with the development of collaboration products.
Cytokinetics has exclusively licensed to Astellas the rights to co-develop and commercialize CK-2127107, a fast skeletal troponin activator drug candidate, for potential application in non-neuromuscular indications. CK-2127107, which is currently in phase I clinical development, will be developed jointly by Cytokinetics and Astellas. Cytokinetics will be primarily responsible for the conduct of phase I clinical trials and certain phase II readiness activities for CK-2127107 and Astellas will be primarily responsible for the conduct of subsequent development and commercialization activities for CK-2127107.
Astellas will have exclusive rights to develop and commercialize other fast skeletal troponin activators in non-neuromuscular indications and to develop and commercialize other novel mechanism skeletal muscle activators in all indications, subject to certain Cytokinetics' development and commercialization rights. Outside the collaboration, Cytokinetics will continue to independently develop tirasemtiv, a fast skeletal troponin activator currently in phase II clinical trials, for the potential treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neuromuscular disorders.
"Through this collaboration, we intend to jointly investigate the potential role that CK-2127107 and follow-on skeletal muscle activators can play in providing functional improvements in patients with diseases characterized by muscle weakness and fatigue,” said Robert I. Blum, Cytokinetics' president and chief executive officer.