Biopharmaceutical company Insmed Incorporated has announced a licensing agreement with AstraZeneca for global exclusive rights to AZD7986, a novel oral inhibitor of dipeptidyl peptidase I (DPP1, also known as cathepsin C).

DPP1 is an enzyme that catalyzes the activation of neutrophil serine proteases (NSPs), which play a key role in pulmonary diseases such as non-cystic fibrosis bronchiectasis (non-CF bronchiectasis). 

Insmed has renamed the compound INS1007 and will pursue an initial indication of non-CF bronchiectasis, a rare, progressive, neutrophil-driven pulmonary disorder in which the bronchi become permanently dilated due to chronic inflammation and infection.

The estimated global prevalence of non-CF bronchiectasis exceeds two million, of which at least 110,000 cases are in the US. There is currently no cure for non-CF bronchiectasis.

"With this transaction we have added a highly complementary therapy that aligns perfectly with our established expertise in rare pulmonary diseases," said Will Lewis, president and chief executive officer of Insmed.

"We are pleased to be working with Insmed on this program from our early stage respiratory portfolio, which represents a novel approach to treating bronchiectasis," said Maarten Kraan, head of the Respiratory and Inflammation Innovative Medicines Unit at AstraZeneca. "Insmed has the expertise and experience required to take AZD7986 forward in this important indication and bring about results that we hope will benefit patients in the future."