Moderna, Chiesi Will Collaborate on New RNA-based Therapies for PAH

Joana Carvalho, PhD avatar

by Joana Carvalho, PhD |

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Moderna, Chiesi collaboration

Moderna has entered a collaboration agreement with Chiesi Farmaceutici to develop new messenger RNA-based therapies for pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH).

Messenger RNAs (mRNAs) are the molecules that cells use as a template to make proteins; specifically, mRNAs carry the genetic code from DNA to the protein-making machinery of cells.

The idea behind this type of mRNA-based therapies is to provide cells with the instructions to produce specific proteins that can have a therapeutic effect in a wide spectrum of disorders, including PAH.

Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, Moderna will be responsible for guiding the discovery of the new mRNA-based therapeutics and devising their delivery. The biotechnology company will use its proprietary mRNA technology and delivery platforms in combination with Chiesi’s expertise in PAH.

“We are excited to begin this collaboration with Chiesi Group, which provides the opportunity to further leverage our mRNA and delivery technology,Stephen Hoge, MD, president of Moderna, said in a press release.

“This new relationship continues our commitment to partner with companies that have unique expertise in serious diseases, and who share our vision of using mRNA therapeutics to address the unmet needs of patients,” Hoge added.

According to Moderna’s website, mRNA-based therapies can enter cells and direct protein production, “something not possible with other drug approaches.” The company believes mRNA therapeutics “have the potential to treat or prevent diseases that today are not addressable – potentially improving human health and impacting lives around the world.”

Chiesi, in turn, will be responsible for the development and worldwide commercialization of the potential new therapeutics, as well as for supporting all expenses stemming from the collaboration.

“Chiesi Group is at the forefront of innovation and discovery of novel therapies for people affected by diseases with high unmet medical need,” said Ugo Di Francesco, CEO of the Chiesi Group.

“The agreement with Moderna, a leader in mRNA science and delivery, confirms our commitment to better serve patients and healthcare professionals with transformative solutions,” Francesco added.

Under the agreement, Moderna will receive an upfront payment of $25 million from Chiesi and will be eligible to receive more than $400 million once certain developmental, regulatory, and commercial milestones are achieved. Additionally, the company will be eligible to receive double-digit royalty payments based on the net sales of the resulting therapies.