AstraZeneca has partnered to develop US-based Eolas Therapeutics’s anti-addiction programme, Eolas Orexin-1 Receptor Antagonist (EORA).
Eolas’s EORA programme aims to develop novel therapies for smoking cessation and other indications. It is the first therapeutic to directly address the brain circuitry of addiction rather than the drug-signalling pathway.
The programme was awarded a blueprint neurotherapeutics (BPN) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for development of the programme from the preclinical stage through to Phase I clinical trials.
Eolas Therapeutics CEO Albert Man said: "We are happy to be partnering with AstraZeneca on our EORA programme for their scientific, clinical, regulatory, and commercial expertise. Our two companies share a vision for greatly improving the lives of patients affected by addiction and other neurological disorders.
"We are also proud to be the first active NIH Blueprint Neurotherapeutics programme to bridge the gap from concept to commercial licensing. The BPN has been, and will continue to be, instrumental in the development of our therapeutic programme."
AstraZeneca Neuroscience Innovative Medicines (iMed) unit head John Dunlop said: "This collaboration is a great example of our unique approach to Neuroscience drug discovery and development, partnering to advance the most exciting scientific opportunities in areas of high unmet medical need."
As part of the worldwide licence and partnership agreement with AstraZeneca, which is in excess of $145m, Eolas will receive upfront, clinical and regulatory milestone payments.
It will also be eligible to receive royalties on commercial sales.
The EORA compounds are highly specific orexin-1 receptor antagonists, which have been found to effectively block nicotine addiction and cue-instated relapse in vivo animals models, according to Eolas.