The deal will significantly strengthen AZ's late stage pipeline and fits into both AZ's externalisation strategy and its pipeline refocus. The collaboration involves an initial up front payment of $100m to BMS for the two candidates that could address a market worth $15bn. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) estimates that there are more than 230m people living with diabetes worldwide, with 90-95 per cent of cases being type-2 diabetes that increases the risk of complications including heart disease, stroke, blindness and kidney failure.
The most advanced of the candidates is Saxagliptin, a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor, currently in Phase III trials. The companies are hoping to apply for US regulatory approval during the first half of 2008. The second candidate, Dapaglifozin, previously BMS-512148, is a sodium glucose cotransport-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor and is currently in Phase IIb development.
The deal is for a worldwide collaboration, excluding Japan. Should either company develop additional compounds that target the same receptors the other can elect to add those compounds to the collaboration. AZ will fund the majority of development costs from 2007 through 2009, after that both companies will share the costs equally.
A spokesperson for AZ, told DrugResearcher.com: "AZ has a strong heritage in cardiovascular (CV) therapies, diabetes fits into this area as CV products are often prescribed to diabetics."
AZ has recently announced changes to the focus of its pipeline, which have led to the build up of therapeutic candidates for diabetes and obesity.
The externalization strategy has seen AZ look to source pipeline candidates from outside its own research and development laboratories, which receive about $3.5bn a year.
The spokesperson also said: "since David Brennan became CEO AZ's number one priority has been the expansion of the pipeline; we have completed 10 deals before this one since December 2005 with up-front payments totaling $1.6bn, taking into account share acquisitions and license payments."