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17 May, 2022 - 07:53 By Tony Quested

AstraZeneca commits $157m plus royalties to antibody startup RQ Bio

Cambridge-based Big Biotech AstraZeneca has handed UK startup RQ Bio a flying start to its mission to transform treatment of potentially fatal viral infections.

RQ Bio has emerged from stealth with a huge cash haul via a licensing deal with AstraZeneca for its existing early stage monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) against SARS- CoV-2 with payments of up to $157 million plus royalties.

RQ Bio will bring together founders, executives and leading scientists from academia and industry to address areas of unmet need in vulnerable patient populations.

Jane Osbourn, who is chair of Cambridge-based Mogrify and CSO at Oxbridge life science business Alchemab, is a co-founder of and a key scientific adviser to RQ Bio.

Headquartered in London, RQ Bio has granted AstraZeneca an exclusive worldwide licence to develop, manufacture and commercialise its core technology and a right of first refusal to take an exclusive licence in respect of any additional mAbs against SARS-CoV-2.

RQ Bio will receive upfront and milestone payments of up to $157 million and will be eligible to receive single digit royalties on sales.

Among a number of key appointments, Hugo Fry – CCO at Imbria and former Sanofi executive – has been named as CEO.

To maximise and accelerate patient impact, the company will continue to be supported by its collaborations with its scientific co-founders, the University of Oxford and leading UK medical research charity LifeArc which also maintains Cambridge connections.

Fry said: “Our vision is to build on our successful debut with neutralising antibody therapy for SARS-CoV-2 and develop innovative medicines to address current and evolving unmet needs in other viral infectious diseases. “By combining our expertise and innovative excellence in core areas we have created a smarter approach to antibody generation making us uniquely positioned to deliver fast patient impact.”

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