AstraZeneca PLC CEO Chases Multiple Strands in RNA Drug Quest

Published: Mar 28, 2013

AstraZeneca Plc (AZN), whose setbacks in drug development have made the stock the cheapest among the largest pharmaceutical companies, is turning to RNA technology to boost its chances of discovering new therapies. By manipulating RNA, drugmakers aim either to stop cells from producing proteins that can cause diseases such as cancer and diabetes, or make needed molecules that are missing. RNA, or ribonucleic acid, helps create proteins within a cell based on genetic information encoded in DNA. AstraZeneca Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot expanded the company’s efforts in the RNA field last week by joining up with Moderna Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology company in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The deal gives the London-based drugmaker a third approach to developing RNA-targeting medicines, following partnerships in the last seven months with Regulus Therapeutics Inc. (RGLS) and Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (ISIS).

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