Pieris Pharmaceuticals (NSDQ:PIRS) inked a $45 million deal with AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) to develop a group of inhaled drugs for respiratory diseases.
According to the deal, Pieris will get $45 million up front to bring an experimental asthma drug into human clinical trials. The drug is slated to begin Phase I testing this year, which will bring the company another $12.5 million. AstraZeneca plans to fund the development of that program and up to 4 other drugs for respiratory diseases.
Boston-based Pieris has 49 full-time employees and has inked deals with other pharma companies, including Roche (PINK:RHHBY) and Allergan (NYSE:AGN).
The company develops a protein-based group of drugs that Pieris touts as targeting tricky regions within the body, including the airways of the lungs. In its new deal with AstraZeneca, the British pharma giant will license an asthma drug that blocks an inflammatory cytokine involved in asthma. The drug is administered to the lungs using an inhaler.
PIRS shares jumped nearly 50% in early trading activity today to $3.53 apiece.