Wyeth has entered into an alliance with Santaris Pharma to develop medicines, using the Danish drugmaker’s proprietary locked nucleic acid drug platform.

Under the terms of the three-year deal, Santaris will receive a $7 million payment upfront, and Wyeth will make a $10 million equity investment in the company. Santaris also can receive royalties and milestone payments of up to $83 million on each of ten potential targets.

Santaris LNA technology creates synthetic chemical versions of the normal nucleic acid building blocks of RNAs. It is hoped that these could lead to the development of therapeutics to treat protein-related diseases.
The technology targets and regulates microRNAs and messenger RNAs as a means to affect gene expression.
Wyeth will select the RNA targets against which Santaris will use the LNA drug platform to generate drug candidates. The US firm will be responsible for the development and commercialisation of products arising from the alliance.

With this deal, Wyeth Research president Mikael Dolsten said that the firm is exploring a fourth platform technology targeting RNAs, “which complements our expertise in small molecules, vaccines and protein-based therapeutics”. He added that “this will increase our ability to develop and bring to market innovative, high-value medicines” that have the potential to address significant unmet needs.