Skin Cancer: Etherna and Almirall Collaborate to Develop New mRNA Therapies

Almirall and Etherna announce a multi-target alliance to develop new mRNA therapies for severe skin diseases, such as non-melanoma skin cancer.

A multi-target alliance to discover and develop new mRNA-based therapies for severe skin diseases, including non-melanoma skin cancer, is what Almirall, a global pharmaceutical company focused on medical dermatology, and the Belgian biotech company etherna, a mRNA/LNP (lipid nanoparticle) technology platform company, recently announced.

The commercial agreement, details

The alliance combines and leverages etherna’s innovative proprietary mRNA capabilities and LNP formulations with Almirall‘s leading expertise in medical dermatology to accelerate the discovery of new therapeutic options. The delivery of mRNA formulated in LNP for transient and local translation of therapeutic proteins offers a unique opportunity to encode for multiple therapeutically active components in a single treatment. Etherna and Almirall will collaborate on research activities, while Almirall will lead clinical development and commercialization. Under the agreement, etherna will receive upfront payments and access to the technology. Additionally, etherna is entitled to receive milestone payments for development and commercialization success that could exceed €300 million in cash upon launch and commercial success of several products, along with gradual royalties based on future global sales. Further financial details were not disclosed.

Objective: Advancing mRNA-based therapies

“At Almirall, we are always seeking new solutions for patients with skin diseases, and we are excited about the strategic alliance with etherna to strengthen our pipeline of mRNA-based products,” said Karl Ziegelbauer, Chief Scientific Officer of Almirall. “We are excited,” added Bernard Sagaert, CEO of etherna, “to collaborate with Almirall to advance mRNA-based therapies in medical dermatology. Almirall and etherna share the belief that intradermal application of mRNA formulated in LNP is a very promising strategy to offer new and effective therapeutic options that will bring enormous benefits to patients.”

LNP technology, what it involves

Lipid nanoparticles (LNP) serve as advanced nanocarriers for the delivery of nucleic acids. They help protect the active payload from systemic degradation and transport it to the intended site of action. By avoiding degradation and increasing payload release into the cytosol, LNPs enable more efficient and effective nucleic acid therapies. Etherna has developed expertise and implemented a series of experimental approaches to customize LNPs for specific therapeutic applications. Additionally, the Belgian company has developed proprietary libraries of ionizable lipids with various properties that it uses to develop cLNPs.