Pieris Pharmaceuticals Inc. shares surged as much as 54% in premarket trade Wednesday on news of the company's $57.5 million deal with AstraZeneca to develop drugs for respiratory diseases. The deal includes $45 million upfront and $12.5 million in a milestone payment once Pieris begins a phase 1 trial this year for its lead preclinical drug, PRS-060, which is intended for patients with moderate to severe asthma. AstraZeneca will fund all clinical development and commercialization for PRS-060, with Pieris having the option of U.S. co-development and co-commercialization starting in phase 2a clinical trials. The agreement covers four additional therapeutic programs, with Pieris having the option for U.S. co-development and co-commercialization for two of them. Pieris is eligible for up to $2.1 billion in development dependent milestone payments and eventual commercial payments, according to the release. Pieris shares have surged 11.1% over the last three months, compared with a 4.1% rise in the S&P 500 .
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