- Silence Therapeutics said it had formed a strategic collaboration arrangement with AstraZeneca to develop therapeutics for the treatment of cardiovascular, renal, metabolic and respiratory diseases.

The collaboration would draw on Silence's experience in the delivery of small interfering RNA (siRNA) therapeutics together with AstraZeneca's expertise in disease biology.

AstraZeneca would make an upfront cash payment of $60m and an equity investment of $20m in Silence.

The parties anticipated initiating work on five targets within the first three years of the collaboration, with AstraZeneca having the option to extend it to a further five targets.

Silence would be responsible for designing siRNA molecules against gene targets selected by AstraZeneca, and for manufacturing of material to support toxicology studies and clinical studies.

AstraZeneca would pay Silence an option fee of $10mn for each selected target at the point of candidate nomination.

After that, for each target selected, Silence would be eligible for up to $140m in development milestones and up to $250m in commercialization milestones, as well as tiered royalties on net sales ranging from high single digit to low double digit.

'We are delighted to announce this collaboration with AstraZeneca as it is a further validation of our proprietary siRNA platform,' chief executive Iain Ross said.

'It not only provides us with an opportunity to collaborate on specific liver expressed gene targets but also to work with a leading company to achieve targeted delivery of siRNA molecules to other tissues including heart, kidney and lung.'

At 1:43pm: [LON:SLN] Silence Therapeutics PLC share price was +91p at 497p

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