AstraZeneca, Scorpion partner on 'undruggable' cancer targets

Jan. 13, 2022

AstraZeneca has inked an agreement with cancer startup star Scorpion Therapeutics to develop precision medicines against previously hard-to-target cancer proteins.

Scorpion, a Massachusetts-based biotech now helmed by former GSK exec Axel Hoos, will receive an upfront cash payment of $75 million from AstraZeneca and is eligible to receive additional success-based payments.

The new collaboration focuses on a class of proteins called transcription factors, which control gene expression and can regulate important cellular processes including cell growth and survival. Many transcription factors have long been identified as important targets for new cancer treatments and as drivers of disease, but have previously been considered 'undruggable’ using conventional drug discovery approaches, according to AstraZeneca.

The partnership will combine Scorpion’s fully integrated discovery platform — which leverages advances in cancer biology and medicinal chemistry, including chemical proteomics, structure-based drug design and machine learning — with AstraZeneca’s oncology prowess.