AstraZeneca (AZN) has acquired the global rights to Neurimmune’s drug candidate targeting a condition that can lead to heart failure. The drug candidate, named NI006, is currently in Phase Ib trial. AZN shares rose 1.08% to close at $62.00 on March 2.
Through its rare disease unit Alexion, AstraZeneca has been granted worldwide exclusive rights to develop, produce, and commercialize NI006. Alexion has agreed to make an upfront payment of $30 million to Neurimmune.
It has also agreed to make additional milestone payments of up to $730 million to Neurimmune if certain development, regulatory, and commercial targets are met. Moreover, if the collaboration results in an approved product, Neurimmune would earn royalties on its sales.
Development of NI006
NI006 aims to treat a condition called transthyretin amyloid cardiomyopathy, which is characterized by protein deposits in the heart.
The arrangement calls for Neurimmune to carry on with the Phase Ib clinical trial of NI006 and Alexion will contribute to certain trial expenses. After that, Alexion will take over the further development of the drug candidate. It will also be responsible for its manufacturing and commercialization.
Tackling Heart Failure
NI006, a monoclonal antibody, is designed to target and remove tissue deposits in the heart that can lead to organ failure. AstraZeneca explains that heart failure affects about 64 million people globally. The company adds that chronic heart failure represents a huge clinical and economic burden. The specific condition that NI006 targets affect as many as 500,000 people, but AstraZeneca explains that the condition remains underdiagnosed.
Last month, DZ Bank analyst Elmar Kraus upgraded AstraZeneca stock to a Hold from a Sell.
Consensus among analysts is a Moderate Buy based on 1 Buy and 2 Holds. The average AstraZeneca price target of $70 implies 12.90% upside potential to current levels.
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