AstraZeneca and Accent Therapeutics have announced plans to work together on the discovery, development and commercialisation of transformative therapeutics targeting RNA-modifying proteins (RMPs) for the treatment of cancer.

The collaboration focuses on targeting RMPs, proteins that control various aspects of RNA biology which represent a new approach for addressing the process disruptions that can lead to cancer and treatment resistance.

According to the firms, the move will bring together AZ’ expertise in progressing novel oncology medicines and Accent’s expertise in the biology, target identification and drug discovery of RMP-targeting therapies.

Under the terms of the deal, Accent takes responsibility for research and development activities for a nominated preclinical programme through to the end of Phase I clinical trials.

Following completion of Phase I, AZ will lead development and commercialisation activities for the programme, with Accent having the option to jointly develop and commercialise with AZ in the US.

AZ will also have the exclusive option to license worldwide rights to two further preclinical discovery programmes, for which Accent will conduct certain preclinical activities.

Accent will receive an upfront payment of $55 million but also stands to receive additional success-based payments across all programmes in the form of option fees and milestone payments, as well as tiered royalties on net sales ranging from mid-single digit to low-double digits.

In the event Accent opts into co-developing and co-commercialising the nominated programme, profits and losses will be split in the US.