AstraZeneca has revealed plans to collaborate with Silence Therapeutics to discover, develop and commercialise small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular, renal, metabolic and respiratory diseases.

The British-Swedish pharma giant has announced the “multi-target collaboration” to harness Silence’s established siRNA platform to identify and progress liver-based targets, as an adjunct to developing new delivery approaches for targeting other tissues such as the heart, lung and kidney.

Small interfering RNA (siRNA) are double-stranded RNA molecules that offer new opportunities for therapeutic intervention because they act inside the cell to influence protein production.

Mene Pangalos, executive vice president BioPharmaceuticals R&D, AstraZeneca said that the collaboration with Silence “adds an exciting new modality, siRNA, into our drug discovery toolbox.

“Importantly we can apply this drug modality across our key therapy areas in cardiovascular, renal and metabolism and respiratory to target novel pathways not amenable to more traditional drug discovery approaches.”

AstraZeneca believes that targeted delivery to these other tissues - such as the heart, lung and kidney - represents a new opportunity to treat cardiovascular, renal, metabolic and respiratory diseases.