Ligand Pharmaceuticals and PhoreMost have announced the signing of a research collaboration agreement between Ligand’s subsidiary Vernalis and PhoreMost on an undisclosed novel oncology target.
PhoreMost has identified and validated the target using its next-generation SITESEEKER phenotypic screening technology. Ligand will now apply its Vernalis Design Platform (VDP) to design small molecule inhibitors against the target, to help rapidly progress compounds through hit-to-lead and lead optimization stages.
The objective of the collaboration is to out-license the resulting compounds for further development. Under the terms of the agreement, Vernalis and PhoreMost will share downstream revenues of any future out-licenses.
Based on Ligand’s contribution and stage of development at the time of licensing, Ligand will be entitled to a scaling interest in license economics based on development stage.
“This collaboration with PhoreMost on a novel oncology target has the potential to generate highly valuable new drug candidates. This is another demonstration of the successful integration of Vernalis since its acquisition by Ligand in October of last year,” said John Higgins, Chief Executive Officer of Ligand.
“We are excited to be joining forces with Vernalis, whose impressive track record of developing first-in-class drugs is highly complementary to our core SITESEEKER platform. SITESEEKER systematically opens up new druggable space across the entire human proteome, rapidly identifying sites in specific disease driving targets that can’t be readily seen using conventional methods,” said Chris Torrance, Chief Executive Officer of PhoreMost.
Vernalis R&D Limited is a Ligand subsidiary based in Cambridge, UK, and is a world leader in structure-guided drug discovery. The Vernalis Design Platform (VDP) integrates protein structure determination and engineering, fragment screening and molecular modeling, with medicinal chemistry, to enable success in novel drug discovery programs against highly-challenging targets.
A key element to the success of VDP is establishing a robust platform for drug discovery for each target to validate hit identification using multiple proprietary assay and biophysical systems. Vernalis has collaborations across many therapeutic areas, including oncology, CNS, anti-infectives and inflammation, with global partners and a heritage of successful internal drug discovery in oncology and anti-infectives.
Source: Company Press Release