Horizon Discovery, a provider of research tools to support translational genomics research, and AstraZeneca have entered into an exclusive collaboration and license agreement to explore Horizon's first-in-class kinase target program, HD-001, as a means of developing novel therapies for multiple cancer types.
Horizon will receive undisclosed upfront and preclinical milestone payments, and are eligible for clinical and approval milestones totaling up to $75 million, as well as tiered royalties.
The HD-001 program, currently in the early stages of drug discovery, has the potential to be developed into a treatment based on modulation of a novel kinase. This target has been shown to be mutated in a range of cancer types including colon and lung. The target has also been shown to play a key role in K-Ras mutant tumors. K-Ras is mutated in up to 40% of all cancer types causing resistance to many of the available targeted therapeutics and as a result is associated with poor patient outcomes, which makes the development of molecular targeted therapies against the gene a significant unmet need.
"Targeting cancer cells harboring mutant K-Ras has been a perennial issue for the drug discovery community, with few canonical pathway or 'gene-addiction' targets showing a clear benefit on this important cancer gene,” said Dr. Chris Torrance, CSO and leader of the HD-001 program, Horizon. “We are excited to partner with Astra Zeneca on the development of HD-001, as they have shown a firm commitment to the identification of novel K-Ras targets."
Susan Galbraith, head of the oncology innovative medicines unit, AstraZeneca, said, "Horizon's novel kinase target program coupled with their target validation technology allows us to broaden our oncology research efforts beyond our own internal capabilities. AstraZeneca has a proven track record of collaborating on early stage discovery projects with innovative organizations like Horizon, partnering their cutting-edge science with our strong oncology expertise to bring new medicines to cancer patients."