AbbVie and Anima Biotech pair up on discovery and development of mRNA Biology Modulators

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags mRNA AbbVie

AbbVie and Anima Biotech will develop mRNA biology modulators across three targets in oncology and immunology in a collaboration worth up to $580m.

Anima will use its mRNA Lightning platform to discover novel mRNA biology modulators against the collaboration targets: providing AbbVie exclusive rights to license and further develop and commercialize the programs.

Anima will receive an upfront payment of $42m and may be eligible to receive up to $540m in option fees and R&D milestones across the three targets, with potential for further commercial milestones as well as tiered royalties on net sales.

Meanwhile, AbbVie also has an option to expand the collaboration with up to three additional targets under the same terms as the initial collaboration, which may increase the potential value of the collaboration. 

"This collaboration will give AbbVie access to Anima's leading technology platform and deep expertise in mRNA biology and will help further strengthen AbbVie's world class capabilities in discovering and developing drugs to make a difference in patient's lives,"​ said Jonathon Sedgwick, Ph.D., vice president and global head of discovery research, AbbVie.

"Modulating mRNA biology with small molecules is a new approach and has the potential to address 'undruggable' targets with implications across multiple therapy areas."

Yochi Slonim, co-founder and chief executive officer, Anima, added: "Anima's differentiated approach in the field of small molecule mRNA drugs combines phenotypic screening with AI-driven elucidation of the mechanisms of action. The power of our mRNA Lightning platform is validated by our multiple partnerships and a growing internal pipeline."

New approach

Anima Biotech is advancing mRNA Lightning, a novel platform for the discovery of small molecule mRNA drugs and their mechanisms of action.

Its approach searches for compounds that target proteins with roles in regulating mRNA, to affect disease states through post-transcriptional regulation - before disease-related proteins are expressed - rather than the more traditional therapeutic approach of inhibiting disease-related proteins after they’ve already been expressed.

Its tech combines high scale phenotypic screening that automates millions of experiments in live mRNA biology with MOAi technology using AI to elucidate the mechanism of action of active molecules.

This 'unparalleled level' of automation of phenotypic screening of mRNA modulators, paired with AI driven MOA elucidation - has led to a pipeline across 18 different discovery programs in various therapeutic areas.

Anima has wholly owned pipeline programs are in Fibrosis (Collagen I mRNA biology modulators, preclinical stage in lung fibrosis and applicable across many fibrotic diseases), Oncology (c-Myc mRNA biology modulators and mutation agnostic mKras mRNA biology modulators), and Neuroscience (Tau - Alzheimer's disease and Pain - Nav1.7 mRNA biology modulators).

It has also established strategic collaborations with Lilly (2018) and Takeda Pharmaceuticals (2021). 


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