Carlsbad-based Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced it received two milestone payments totaling $8 million for drugs in their pipeline.

British drug maker AstraZeneca Plc paid Isis $6 million in cancer drug development partnership, and Vancouver-based partner Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc. paid $2 million to acquire exclusive licensing rights for an Isis drug.

The drugs are based on Isis’ proprietary “antisense” therapy platform, which uses RNA to deactivate faulty, disease-causing proteins.

“A key component of our business strategy is to exploit the broad applicability of our antisense technology platform in order to develop antisense drugs in many different therapeutic areas,” B. Lynne Parshall, chief operating officer of Isis, said in a statement.

Isis has a broad pipeline of such antisense drugs, and has begun commercializing its first major drug, Kynamro. It recently filed for a $182 million secondary public offering.

In upfront and milestone payments, it has received $41 million from AstraZeneca.

— SDBJ Staff Report