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Dicerna Earns $5M Milestone as Partner Kyowa Picks up Cancer Drug

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Dicerna Pharmaceuticals announced this week that it has earned a $5 million milestone payment after partner Kyowa Hakko Kirin decided to further develop an oncology drug candidate covered by the companies' drug-development alliance.

Kyowa's move comes after the Dicer-substrate drug, which is formulated using Kyowa's proprietary antibody-based delivery technology, demonstrated the ability to trigger complete tumor regression in an animal model of an undisclosed human cancer, Dicerna said.

In comparison, “the current chemical standard of care achieved only a slowing of the tumor growth rate, as was expected,” the company added.

Kyowa will now assume all responsibility for continuing the candidate's development, while Dicerna maintains the right to co-promote the drug in the US and share the profits on a 50/50 basis.

In light of the positive results, Dicerna said that Kyowa has also elected to add a second oncology target to the companies' partnership.

Dicerna and Kyowa first began working together nearly two years ago (GSN 1/7/2010). Under the deal, Dicerna received $4 million upfront and stands to receive up to $120 million in research funding and milestones in exchange for the rights to use the Dicer-substrate technology against the unnamed cancer target.

About a year later, the companies expanded their arrangement to include immunologic and inflammatory diseases. Specific terms of the expanded deal were not disclosed.

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