Almirall highlighted the importance of etherna’s lipid nanoparticle (LNP) formulations for the delivery of ribonucleic acid (RNA) therapies. In the pharmaceutical industry, LNP systems have emerged as a leading vehicle to deliver therapeutics via a non-viral alternative.

The use of LNPs on the market was sparked during Covid-19 and formed the delivery basis for Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech’s mRNA [messenger RNA] vaccines. LNPs protect and deliver the active payload to the intended site. Upon dissolution, they release the dose of mRNA, which codes for the translation of therapeutic proteins.

Almirall and etherna will work together in research phases while Almirall will solely take on clinical development and commercialisation of candidates.

Almirall could be joining the mRNA arena in oncology after it said non-melanoma skin cancer is a potential therapeutic target. Moderna and Merck (MSD) are utilising mRNA in a jointly developed personalised vaccine to treat melanoma. In June 2023, the two companies released updated results from a Phase II trial, demonstrating significant improvement in survival in patients with skin cancer.

Alongside bolstering its mRNA capabilities, Almirall has also tapped into the growing use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) in the pharma industry. Last month, it entered a drug discovery partnership with AbSci Corporation – a company specialising in creating drugs using the technology. Absci is in line to potentially receive $650m from the deal upfront fees, R&D, and milestone payments.

Etherna CEO Bernard Sagaert said: “We are excited to partner with Almirall to advance mRNA therapeutics into medical dermatology. Almirall and etherna share the vision that intradermal application of LNP-formulated mRNA is a highly promising strategy to bring novel, efficacious new treatment options that will deliver huge benefits to patients.”

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