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AstraZeneca licenses novel agent for the treatment of obesity

AstraZeneca and Eccogene have entered into an exclusive licence agreement for ECC5004, an investigational oral once-daily glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) for the treatment of obesity, type-2 diabetes and other cardiometabolic conditions.

Preliminary results from the Phase I trial have shown a differentiating clinical profile for ECC5004, with good tolerability and encouraging glucose and body weight reduction across the dose levels tested compared to placebo.

Sharon Barr, Executive Vice President, BioPharmaceuticals R&D at AstraZeneca, said: “With the number of people living with cardiometabolic conditions and obesity today already over one billion, there is a need for continued innovation and next generation therapeutic options.

“Building on the promising Phase I clinical data generated by Eccogene, we believe this oral GLP-1RA molecule could offer alternatives to current injectable therapies both as a potential monotherapy as well as in combination for cardiometabolic diseases such as type-2 diabetes, as well as for obesity.

“ECC5004 further strengthens our existing pipeline addressing both incretin and non-incretin pathways, including our GLP-1/glucagon dual agonist [AZD9550] and long-acting amylin analogue [AZD6234].”

Jingye Zhou, Chief Executive Officer of Eccogene, said: “GLP-1RA represents a very important class of drugs for multiple cardiometabolic diseases; currently there is no approved orally available small molecule GLP-1RA. Small molecule GLP-1RA, such as ECC5004, could potentially offer more dosing convenience and ease of use compared to existing GLP-1RA therapies.

“AstraZeneca has impressive global capabilities in clinical development and commercialisation. This important collaboration between Eccogene and AstraZeneca will accelerate the development of ECC5004, a once daily, low dose, orally available small molecule GLP-1RA to benefit the millions of patients worldwide living with these diseases.”

GLP-1RAs are an important treatment option for people living with metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity. They have been shown to be effective at decreasing haemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), promoting weight loss and reducing the risk of cardiovascular events by mimicking the hormone GLP-1.

Under the terms of the agreement, Eccogene will receive an initial upfront payment of $185m. In addition, Eccogene will also receive up to an additional $1.825bn in future clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones and tiered royalties on product net sales.

Under the agreement AstraZeneca is granted exclusive global rights for the development and commercialisation of Eccogene’s ECC5004 small molecule GLP-1RA for any indication in all territories except China, where Eccogene has the right to co-develop and co-commercialise in China alongside AstraZeneca.


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