AstraZeneca has entered into an agreement with Sweden's Orexo to develop a novel treatment for respiratory diseases.

According to the deal, the financial terms for which have not been disclosed, AstraZeneca has bagged rights to conduct further preclinical research and evaluation of compounds in Orexo's OX-CLI programme. The pact represents a resurrection of the latter project given that at the beginning of 2012, Johnson & Johnson terminated its anti-inflammatory collaboration with Orexo  for the OX-CLI and OX_ESI programmes which were focused on developing treatments for asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other inflammatory diseases.

At the time, Orexo chief executive Anders Lundstrom said "unfortunately, we lack the funds to continue on our own to develop the OX-CLI and OX_ESI projects and have therefore decided to close them down". However, it is clear that AstraZeneca has seen something it likes.

Now Mr Lundstrom notes that "our OX-CLI programme is a promising R&D project, which has potential to improve the treatment of respiratory diseases for millions of patients". He added that AstraZeneca "is the optimal partner for OX-CLI and we look forward to see the project advancing".

AstraZeneca also has an option to acquire the compounds from the programme, subject to a full asset transfer agreement, under which Orexo will receive development milestones and royalties on future revenues.