UK-based biotech company Silence Therapeutics has announced a collaboration with Hansoh Pharma to develop novel short interfering ribonucleic acid (siRNA) therapeutics for three undisclosed targets.

Under the terms of the deal, Hansoh will gain an exclusive option to license rights to the first two targets in Greater China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan following the completion of Phase I trials.

Meanwhile, Silence will retain exclusive rights for those two targets in all other territories and will be responsible for all activities up to option exercise, and also retain responsibility outside the China region for post-Phase I studies.

In addition, Hansoh will have the exclusive option to license global rights to a third target at the point of IND filing, and will be responsible for all development activities post-option exercise for the third target.

In return, Hansoh will make a $16m upfront payment, with Silence also to be eligible to receive up to $1.3bn in additional development, regulatory and commercial milestones, plus tiered royalties from low double-digit to mid-teens on Hansoh net product sales.

“We believe Hansoh’s extensive clinical development and commercialisation experience in China make them an ideal partner. This collaboration is a good example of our hybrid model in action, balancing proprietary and partnered programmes to maximise the substantial opportunity of our mRNAi GOLD platform for targeting disease associated genes in the liver,” said Mark Rothera, president and chief executive officer of Silence Therapeutics.

“We are excited to partner with Silence, a pioneer in siRNA therapeutic development with decades of scientific and technical experience. As one of the largest biopharma in China, Hansoh strives to partner with innovative companies globally to build out and advance our robust pipeline spanning across multiple therapeutic areas,” added Eliza Sun, executive director of the board of Hansoh Pharma.