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AstraZeneca and Rigel Sign Worldwide License Agreement for a Potential New Treatment for Chronic Asthma
Date:6/19/2012

d president of Discovery and Research at Rigel Pharmaceuticals.

"We are pleased to be expanding our relationship with Rigel and to develop and commercialize this novel asset, R256," said Mene Pangalos, executive vice president of Innovative Medicines at AstraZeneca. "Despite the number of medicines available to asthma patients today, there remains a need for more targeted therapies for moderate to severe chronic asthma. Through this agreement, R256 will benefit from the wealth of experience AstraZeneca has in bringing innovative treatments for respiratory diseases to millions of patients around the world."

In preclinical studies, R256, a JAK inhibitor, has been shown to be a potent inhibitor of IL-13 and IL-4 signaling at the primary cellular level. Patients with moderate to severe chronic asthma experience persistent inflammation and cellular remodeling of their airways, which may result in permanently reduced lung function if left untreated. In preclinical models, R256 reduces the severity of inflammation and improves lung function by mechanisms associated with several hallmarks of asthma such as bronchoconstriction, mucus overproduction and airway remodeling. In May 2012, Rigel presented two studies on R256 in asthma at the American Thoracic Society International Conference. 

This is the second licensing agreement between AstraZeneca and Rigel Pharmaceuticals. The companies previously announced a worldwide license agreement in February 2010, whereby AstraZeneca agreed to develop and commercialize fostamatinib, the first oral SYK inhibitor in development, as a novel therapeutic approach for rheumatoid arthritis. The Phase 3 clinical program, called OSKIRA (Oral SYK Inhibition in Rheumatoid Arthritis) enrolled its first patient in September of 2010 and is designed to investigate fostamatinib as a therapeutic option for patients who have an inadequate response to currently available therapies such as traditional disease modifyin
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SOURCE Rigel Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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