The FINANCIAL — AstraZeneca and its global biologics research and development arm, MedImmune, on February 11 announced that they have entered into a collaboration with the University of Michigan and Eli Lilly to identify new therapeutic targets for the treatment of chronic kidney diseases (CKD).
The RPC2 consortium (renal precompetitive consortium) will combine extensive clinical and molecular data collected by Professor Matthias Kretzler at the University of Michigan with the R&D expertise of the pharmaceutical industry, according to AstraZeneca.
Professor Kretzler has established a renal database containing information from more than 1,000 patients, as well as from multiple animal models of CKD to advance research into the condition. The consortium will access the database to explore key pathways that drive the progression of CKD and identify potential new targets for medicines. Each member will contribute with its bioinformatic and scientific capabilities to the consortium to build on the analyses already begun by the University of Michigan. Members retain the right to explore targets of interest independently.
“We have to find ways to bring new therapies to our patients faster,” said Professor Kretzler. “The RPC2 gives us the opportunity to combine large-scale clinical and molecular data exploration with the development expertise of the pharmaceutical industry.”
Marcus Schindler, Head of the Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases (CVMD) Innovative Medicines Unit, AstraZeneca, said: “For AstraZeneca, joining this consortium represents a great step forward in our aspiration to become a leader in the treatment of CKD. We believe that knowledge generated in the consortium will lead to an expansion of our portfolio with targets that have a strong patient-based foundation.”
Cristina Rondinone, Head of Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Innovative Medicines at MedImmune said: “The consortium brings several combined years of drug discovery and scientific expertise from academic and pharmaceutical partners, which will accelerate discovery of new pathways to help us deliver meaningful biologic medicines for patients with chronic kidney diseases.”
AstraZeneca’s participation in the consortium complements an existing agreement between the company and the University of Michigan in which targets from AstraZeneca’s cardiovascular and metabolic disease portfolio are validated for their potential in treating CKD. It will aim to discover new targets and drive re-purposing of existing medicines based on new understanding of disease progression.