Despite a Moderna partnership that turned sour, AstraZeneca still wants a piece of the mRNA game.
The British pharma company has signed a new mRNA manufacturing deal with China’s CanSino Biologics, CanSino said in a securities filing (PDF) Tuesday.
The supply agreement will last at least 10 years. Under the deal, CanSino will use its mRNA manufacturing platform to support AZ on the R&D of certain vaccines, the filing shows. The pair may further collaborate on R&D and commercialization in the future.
No financial details were disclosed. It’s not clear what diseases AZ is planning to target with the mRNA tech, or whether the shots made by CanSino will be supplied to countries outside of China.
The deal comes a year after AZ axed an mRNA partnership with Moderna on AZD8601. The mid-stage heart failure candidate sought to use mRNA encoding VEGF-A to repair and regenerate the heart. AZ also terminated an immuno-oncology project with Moderna, cutting MEDI1191, an mRNA drug for IL-12, from its pipeline.
As of its latest earnings update two weeks ago, AZ had no clinical mRNA candidates. But the company’s website still lists mRNA as an area of interest under nucleotide-based therapeutics, a larger field that also includes a broad antisense collaboration with Ionis.
For its part, Moderna in July inked a memorandum of understanding and a land collaboration agreement with the Shanghai government to potentially study, develop and manufacture mRNA medicines in China. All products produced through that deal will be exclusively for China, according to Moderna.