UK-based MiNA Therapeutics has entered into a research collaboration agreement with AstraZeneca to assess small activating RNA (saRNA) molecules in metabolic diseases.

The companies will carry out in vitro and in vivo studies to support the development of saRNA therapeutics for treating metabolic diseases.

The collaboration seeks to leverage MiNA’s expertise in saRNA therapeutics and AstraZeneca’s knowledge of metabolic disease treatment to conduct preclinical research.

MiNA CEO Robert Habib said: “Many metabolic diseases lack sufficient treatment options to help patients manage their disease and to treat the underlying causes to improve patient outcomes.

“This is an exciting opportunity for us to collaborate with AstraZeneca, a global leader in the discovery and development of prescription medicines to treat metabolic diseases, that may lead to therapeutic advances for a large number of patients globally.”

Once the studies are complete, AstraZeneca may also advance to licence the programme to support further development enabling saRNA molecules to target an undisclosed gene.

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AstraZeneca New Modalities, Discovery Sciences, R&D chief scientist Shalini Andersson said: “saRNA molecules are a novel therapeutic modality that upregulate genes and have the potential to access disease-relevant targets that cannot be addressed efficiently with other approaches.

“We look forward to working with MiNA to investigate the potential of saRNAs further.”

Recently, AstraZeneca secured the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) priority review for Farxiga (dapagliflozin) to treat heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).