AstraZeneca has signed a nanomedicines pact with Bind Therapeutics in a deal which could be worth $200 million to the privately-held US biopharma firm.

The firms will work together to develop what Bind calls an "Accurin", a  targeted and programmable cancer nanomedicine, based on a kinase inhibitor owned by the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker. Under the terms of the agreement, the companies complete Investigational New Drug-enabling studies of the lead Accurin, identified from a previously-completed feasibility programme.

BIND could receive upfront and pre-approval fees totalling $69 million, and more than $130 million in regulatory and sales milestones and other payments. It is also in line for tiered single- to double-digit royalties on future sales.

Susan Galbraith, head of AstraZeneca’s oncology innovative medicines unit, said targeted therapies "which specifically address the underlying mechanisms of disease are the future of personalised cancer treatment". She added that the company's oncology teams "are actively exploring a range of platforms to deliver targeted therapies, with a strategic focus on unlocking the significant potential of nanoparticles in cancer treatment", claiming that Bind "has a leading technology in this field".

Accurins selectively accumulate in diseased tissues and cells, leading to higher drug concentrations at the site of the tumour and reduced exposure to healthy tissues. Bind is on something of a roll given that it inked a similar deal with Pfizer earlier this month and an Accurin pact with Amgen was signed in January.

Scott Minick, Bind's chief executive, noted that a year ago, the firm started "several feasibility projects with major pharmaceutical companies". He added that "our collaboration with AstraZeneca is the first one completed and had very successful results" and due to "the advanced nature of this programme, we now plan to move an Accurin with optimised therapeutic properties quickly into product development".

$75 million Horizon deal

Meantime, AstraZeneca has linked up with Horizon Discovery to explore the Cambridge, UK-based firm's first-in-class kinase target programme, HD-001.

The target has been shown to be mutated in a range of cancer types including colon and lung and been shown to play a key role in K-Ras mutant tumours. K-Ras is mutated in up to 40% of all cancer types.

Under the terms of the agreement, Horizon will receive undisclosed upfront and preclinical milestones, and is eligible for clinical and approval milestones totaling up to $75 million, as well as tiered royalties. Ms Galbraith said that AstraZeneca "has a proven track record of collaborating on early stage discovery projects with innovative organisations like Horizon, partnering their cutting-edge science with our strong oncology expertise".