Drug discovery specialist C4X has signed an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with AstraZeneca worth up to $402m, it announced on Monday, for its ‘NRF2 Activator’ programme.
The AIM-traded firm said AstraZeneca would develop and commercialise an oral therapy for the treatment of inflammatory and respiratory diseases, with a lead focus on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
Under the terms of the deal, C4X would receive preclinical milestone payments worth up to $16m ahead of the first clinical trial, including $2m upfront.
In addition, it would be eligible for a further potential $385.8m in clinical development and commercial milestones, and tiered mid-single digit royalties on commercialisation.
“Drug discovery is inherently scientifically complex, and it is through our unique expertise and proprietary cutting-edge technologies that C4X is yet again proving itself as an exemplar in this field,” said chief executive officer Clive Dix.
“NRF2 is thought to be a critical but challenging anti-inflammatory target, and I am proud of the work by our team to achieve a broad stable of intellectual property for this programme, leading to our third significant deal with a truly world-renowned industry leader.”
Dr Dix said the COPD market alone was worth close to $20bn and rising.
“But, more importantly, I know that in AstraZeneca’s hands, with their scientific, technical and commercial expertise, our NRF2 Activator programme has the potential to deliver life changing treatments for the millions of patients suffering with COPD across the world.”
At 1343 GMT, shares in C4X Discovery Holdings were up 17.07% at 24p.