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Argenta Announces a Significant Collaboration Milestone in the Development of Improved Bronchodilators for COPD

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Argenta Discovery Limited, the respiratory drug discovery and development company announces a major milestone in a joint programme with AstraZeneca aimed at identifying improved bronchodilators to treat chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Just 10 months after signing the original collaboration and licensing deal, the team has nominated the first candidate drug to enter formal development by AZ, triggering a milestone payment to Argenta.

Commenting on the progress, Dr Christopher Ashton, Argenta Discovery’s CEO, said, “We are delighted with the significant progress the collaboration has made. The programme is delivering beyond the expectations of both parties on all fronts and I believe we are certainly on track to achieve our original goal for the first candidate from the collaboration to enter the clinic during 2008.”

Claude Bertrand, Global Vice President R&I (Respiratory and Inflammation) for AZ said: “we are extremely pleased with the progress the collaboration with Argenta has made so far. The programme is delivering high quality candidates even more rapidly than we had originally envisioned. The joint culture and determination of the collaboration to succeed is very evident and we expect further candidates to make this important transition in the very near future.”

A team of scientists from the two companies are collaborating to identify long acting muscarinic (M3) antagonists (LAMAs) and dual acting muscarinic antagonist-ß2 agonist (MABA) candidate drugs. Upon AZ decision, such candidate drugs will be developed as once daily, inhaled mono or combination therapies.

AstraZeneca will be responsible for the development and worldwide commercialization of products arising out of the collaboration. Dependent upon success, Argenta is eligible for further development, regulatory and sales milestones. Royalties will also be payable to Argenta dependent upon certain sales thresholds being achieved.

Ashton went on to say “that the progress in this collaboration is further validation of Argenta’s innovative ‘fast forward’ strategy to rapidly develop new respiratory medicines against precedented drug targets.”