AstraZeneca and MedImmune enter strategic collaboration to develop mRNA therapies for respiratory diseases


AstraZeneca, and its global biologics research and development arm MedImmune, have announced a five-year strategic research collaboration with Ethris GmbH (Ethris), a leader in mRNA-based therapeutics with specific expertise in pulmonary disease.

The collaboration is focused on developing new stabilised non-immunogenic modified RNA therapies for respiratory diseases using Ethris’ proprietary SNIM®RNA technology.

mRNA therapies deliver genetic instructions to cells, which drive the target cells to produce selected proteins to help prevent or fight diseases. Ethris’ proprietary mRNA technology can be targeted to the lungs where it helps to replace, inhibit or augment proteins that are involved in causing or exacerbating respiratory disease. mRNA-based therapeutics may also provide new opportunities to modify the course of the disease or its symptoms.The collaboration builds on AstraZeneca’s expertise in respiratory diseases and inhaled delivery technologies by giving the company’s MedImmune and Innovative Medicines (IMED) biotech units exclusive access to SNIM®RNA technology to develop multiple new targets for investigation in the diseases of asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.

Bahija Jallal, Executive Vice President, MedImmune, said: “Rapid advances over the last decade have made mRNA a very promising tool for clinical application, and we are excited to collaborate with Ethris, whose advanced platform is leading in RNA delivery to the lung. This collaboration complements our respiratory science focused on early intervention and disease modification by adding novel ways to target disease mechanisms that cannot be addressed by other approaches currently in our pipeline.”

Dr. Carsten Rudolph, President and CEO of Ethris, added: “This collaboration validates Ethris’ leading position in development and delivery of mRNA therapies for the treatment of pulmonary diseases. This collaboration pairs our proprietary technology with the world-class expertise of AstraZeneca and MedImmune in respiratory diseases, biologics development and commercialisation, and positions us to bring forward new options for patients.”

Financial considerations
Ethris will receive €25 million upfront, plus research funding, and is eligible for future research and development milestones, including sales-related royalties upon commercialisation. AstraZeneca and MedImmune will have the option to take exclusive worldwide licenses upon completion of the research plan for each target within the collaboration.

About Ethris
Ethris is paving a new path from genes to therapeutic proteins using its proprietary messenger RNA technology platform, which enables the discovery, design and development of transcript therapies that restore missing functions in patients’ cells and tissues. Ethris is advancing transcript therapies to transform the treatment of disease. For more information, visit

About MedImmune
MedImmune is the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialization of small molecule and biologic prescription medicines. MedImmune is pioneering innovative research and exploring novel pathways across Oncology, Respiratory, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases, and Infection and Vaccines. The MedImmune headquarters is located in Gaithersburg, Md., one of AstraZeneca’s three global R&D centres, with additional sites in Cambridge, UK and Mountain View, CA. For more information, please visit

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a global, science-led biopharmaceutical company that focuses on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines, primarily for the treatment of diseases in three main therapy areas – Oncology, Cardiovascular & Metabolic Diseases and Respiratory. The Company also is selectively active in the areas of autoimmunity, neuroscience and infection. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

For more information, please visit

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