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Biotech Cancer Drug Partnership

Written By Brian Hicks

Posted April 24, 2013

The biotech industry is in the middle of what many are calling a veritable golden age at the moment, and new developments are pointing towards an even stronger run than originally thought.

According to the Telegraph, pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) has plans to partner with biotech firm Bind to produce a potent cancer drug that could potentially have long-reaching effects on the medical community.

pillsAstraZeneca is reportedly paying over $200 million to Bind in order to help develop the drug, which should enter into clinical trials within 12-18 months. The company believes that the drug, which works by sending a strong medicine into tumors, will serve as a huge advancement towards properly treating certain types of cancer.

This isn’t the first time that AstraZeneca has partnered with biotech firms in order to help fill its pipeline. Just as recently as last month, the company agreed to pay—upfront, even—$240 million to Moderna Therapeutics.

MT has a strong base of knowledge in cardiometabolic cancers and diseases, which AstraZeneca is hoping to access in order to create new, more potent and effective drugs. Analysts believe AstraZeneca hopes to improve its pipeline, which has been suffering as of late, with arrangements such as these,.

A Growing Trend

The biotech industry has certainly been following a series of trends recently. Partnerships between large drug companies and smaller biotech firms are becoming more and more common, as scenarios such as these are beneficial not only to the smaller companies that require funding in order to further research and production, but also to drug companies that are looking to flesh out their pipelines.

There is a lot more at play here than simple partnerships, however, as the industry as a whole is going through a dramatic resurgence. Biotech companies are not only gaining the funding they need, but they are also seeing advancements that haven’t been this apparent in decades.

New, more potent drugs are being developed—specifically, those which help to treat cancers of various kinds. It should come as no surprise, then, that drug companies such as AstraZeneca are quick to provide funding to companies that are doing their part to create effective drugs featuring fewer side-effects than those seen in the past.

It’s worth noting that drugs such as those created by Bind could potentially take years to make it to market, which means AstraZeneca and other large drug companies are taking a rather big risk in providing upfront funding.

Even so, AstraZeneca believes that the advancements made via this funding will help the company improve its pipeline. Prior to this partnership, the company had isolated a molecule known to be effective against cancer, although difficulties in getting toxicity levels down have stunted trials thus far.

An Exciting Time for Investors

Because the biotech industry is seeing such a massive resurgence, this is the perfect time for interested investors to get involved. Small biotech firms such as Bind and Moderna Therapeutics, for example, are very much worth investor attention.

With massive amounts of funding from major drug companies, there’s no telling what sort of success these companies might see.

Drug companies, such as Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and AstraZeneca, are also worth the attention. If these companies are willing to provide exciting amounts of funding to smaller biotech firms, it makes sense that they would be looking towards a bright future.

ETFs are also worth looking into, as they could be prosperous for those who are new to investing in biotech.

There’s a question as to how long the bullish market for biotech could last, as many believe it is in the middle of a bubble that could burst in the not-so-distant future. This being said, the market shows no signs of slowing down at the moment; more than anything else, speculation is at play for those who have negative views on the future of the industry.

If drug companies continue to offer financial assistance to small biotech firms such as Bind, it wouldn’t be surprising if the industry continued to incline not only in future months but for many more years to come.  


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