Scorpion Therapeutics, Inc. (“Scorpion”), a next-generation oncology company pioneering Precision Oncology 2.0, today announced a collaboration with AstraZeneca (LSE/STO/NYSE: AZN) to discover, develop and commercialize precision medicines against previously hard-to-target cancer proteins, with the potential to transform oncology treatment. The collaboration focuses on a class of proteins called transcription factors, which control gene expression and can regulate important cellular process including cell growth and survival.
Many transcription factors have long been identified as important targets for new cancer treatments and drivers of disease, but have historically been considered “undruggable” using conventional drug discovery approaches.
To overcome the challenges of targeting transcription factors and to reach underserved patient populations, this collaboration will combine Scorpion’s fully integrated discovery platform with AstraZeneca’s leadership in developing and commercializing precision medicines for cancer treatment.
Axel Hoos, M.D., Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of Scorpion said, “We are pleased to enter into this collaboration with AstraZeneca, whose expertise in drug development and commercialization complements our discovery platform, which leverages cutting-edge advances in cancer biology and medicinal chemistry, including chemical proteomics, structure-based drug design and machine learning. We expect this collaboration will accelerate Scorpion’s efforts to deliver the promise of Precision Oncology 2.0: optimized, transformational therapies for more patients living with cancer.”
Susan Galbraith, Executive Vice President, Oncology R&D of AstraZeneca said: “Unlocking potentially transformative biology is pivotal for delivering the next wave of cancer treatments. Scorpion’s innovative platform is a strong strategic fit as we explore a range of new modalities across our broad drug discovery toolbox with promise to disrupt the activity of these highly-validated cancer targets.”
Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Scorpion will lead discovery and certain preclinical activities. AstraZeneca has the exclusive option to license worldwide rights for up to three drug candidates. AstraZeneca would be responsible for development and commercialization activities worldwide following opt-in, while Scorpion would retain the option to co-develop and co-promote up to two of these programs in the U.S. under certain conditions, including if AstraZeneca exercises three license options.
Scorpion will receive an upfront cash payment of $75 million and is eligible to receive up to an additional $1.5 billion in the form of option fees and milestone payments, as well as tiered royalties on net sales ranging from mid-single digit to low-double digits. In the event Scorpion opts-in to co-developing and co-promoting a nominated program, Scorpion will participate in the operating costs and be entitled to a proportionate share of the economics in the U.S., subject to certain adjustments.
About Scorpion Therapeutics
Scorpion Therapeutics is a pioneering oncology company redefining the frontier of precision medicine to deliver optimized and transformational therapies for larger populations of patients with cancer, a strategy Scorpion refers to as Precision Oncology 2.0. Scorpion has built a proprietary and fully integrated platform of the most advanced technologies across cancer biology, medicinal chemistry, and data sciences, that enables it to consistently and rapidly create exquisitely selective small molecule compounds against an unprecedented spectrum of targets. Scorpion leverages its platform to advance a broad pipeline of wholly owned, optimized compounds across three target categories: best-in-class molecules targeting validated oncogene targets; first-in-class molecules for previously undruggable targets; and first-in-class molecules for novel cancer targets.