September 14, 2017 / 11:09 AM / 12 days ago

Moderna, AstraZeneca heart drug succeeds early-stage trial

FILE PHOTO: The logo of AstraZeneca is seen on medication packages in a pharmacy in London, Britain April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth /File Photo

(Reuters) - Biotech unicorn Modern Therapeutics said on Thursday its heart drug, developed along with British drugmaker AstraZeneca, met the main goal in an early-stage trial.

The company, which develops drugs based on molecule known as messenger RNA, said AstraZeneca has submitted a clinical trial application in Europe for a mid-stage study of the drug, mRNA AZD-8601, in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery.

Messenger RNA (mRNA) carries the recipe for making proteins inside the body. Using it as a medicine could offer a new way to tackle many hard-to-treat diseases, from cancer to infections to heart and kidney disorders.

AstraZeneca first invested $240 million in 2013 to access Moderna's know-how in manipulating RNA, or ribonucleic acid, which helps create proteins inside cells - another example of CEO Pascal Soriot placing a bet on new science. (reut.rs/2h1kbzW)

In 2016, AstraZeneca invested another $140 million in Moderna, which already has a cash pile of around $1 billion.

Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur

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