Pieris Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca Collaborate to Develop and Commercialize Anticalin-Based Inhaled Treatments for Respiratory Diseases
BOSTON, MA - (Marketwired - May 03, 2017) - Pieris Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (PIRS)
* Pieris to receive $57.5 million USD in upfront and near-term milestone payments
* Pieris has the potential to receive development-dependent milestones and eventual commercial payments for all products not exceeding $2.1 billion as well as tiered royalties
* For programs co-developed by Pieris, the Company will be entitled to receive increased royalties or a gross margin share on worldwide sales, dependent on the level of investment to which Pieris commits
* Pieris will host a conference call on Wednesday, May 3rd at 10am EDT to discuss the collaboration
Pieris today announced a strategic collaboration in respiratory diseases with AstraZeneca to develop novel inhaled drugs that leverage Pieris' Anticalin® platform, including its lead preclinical drug candidate, PRS-060.
Anticalin molecules are engineered proteins which can mimic antibodies by binding to sites either on other proteins or on small molecules. They are smaller than monoclonal antibodies, offering the potential of direct delivery to the lung.
Under the collaboration, Pieris will be responsible for advancing its preclinical lead candidate, PRS-060, into Phase 1 clinical trials in 2017. PRS-060 is an Anticalin against interleukin-4 receptor alpha (IL-4Ra) with potential in asthma. AstraZeneca will fund all clinical development and subsequent commercialization programs and Pieris has the option of co-development and co-commercialization in the US from Phase 2a onwards. In addition, the parties will collaborate to progress four additional novel Anticalins against undisclosed targets for respiratory diseases with Pieris having the option to co-develop and co-commercialize in the US two of these programs.
Mene Pangalos, Executive Vice President, Innovative Medicines and Early Development Biotech Unit and Business Development, said: "At AstraZeneca, discovering and developing innovative new medicines to treat respiratory diseases is a key strategic priority. Our alliance with Pieris adds an important new modality to our respiratory portfolio and builds on our scientific expertise in inhaled formulation technologies. Pieris shares our passion for ground-breaking science and we look forward to working together to develop new, life-changing treatment options for patients."
Stephen Yoder, President and Chief Executive Officer of Pieris, said: "Our partnership with AstraZeneca accelerates the transformation of Pieris into a fully-integrated drug development and commercial organization, comprising two main pillars in immunology: respiratory diseases and immuno-oncology, each of which is now anchored by a major alliance. We recognize AstraZeneca's unparalleled expertise in the development of inhaled drugs, which will maximize the potential of PRS-060 and other inhaled Anticalin molecules to become valuable assets for both companies."
AstraZeneca will make an upfront and near term milestone payments to Pieris in the amount of $57.5 million -- $45 million USD of upfront payments and $12.5 million USD for the initiation of the PRS-060 Phase 1 trial. Pieris has the potential to receive development-dependent milestones and eventual commercial payments for all products not exceeding $2.1 billion as well as tiered royalties on the sales of any potential products commercialized by AstraZeneca. For programs co-developed by Pieris, the Company stands to receive increased royalties or a gross margin share on worldwide sales equal, dependent on the level of investment to which Pieris commits.
Louis Matis, M.D., Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer of Pieris, said: "AstraZeneca, a leading innovator in respiratory diseases with considerable expertise in the development of inhaled products, is the ideal partner to exploit the potential of our platform in respiratory diseases. Based on the limitations of many types of biologic molecules, direct delivery to the lungs via inhalation has been challenging to date for other classes of therapeutic proteins. Anticalin proteins have unique properties, not least of which is their size and stability, and show considerable promise for this route of delivery."
The collaboration agreement is conditional upon the expiration or early termination of the applicable waiting period (and any extension thereof) under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended.
PRS-060, an Anticalin protein potently engaging IL-4Ra, is being developed for patients suffering from moderate to severe asthma, many of whom are not able to control their asthma well with currently available medications. In a large proportion of asthma patients, the Th2 pathway plays an important role. IL-4 and IL-13 are the main cytokines involved in Th2-mediated asthma. Both signal via IL-4Ra, making IL-4Ra a cornerstone intervention point. PRS-060 differentiates from antibody approaches through inhaled delivery directly into the lungs, potentially resulting in efficacy and safety benefits. The local delivery may allow for lower doses than systemically administered antibodies, potentially also resulting in a significant cost of goods advantage over those therapies. Pieris has demonstrated proof of concept in animals as well as feasibility for pulmonary delivery with PRS-060.