A partnership with some pep(tides)

Ipsen, PeptiDream team up for therapeutic peptides to treat serious conditions

Kelsey Kaustinen
TOKYO—PeptiDream Inc. and global pharmaceutical companyIpsen have joined forces in a research collaboration and license optionagreement for the discovery, evaluation and potential development oftherapeutic peptides to treat serious medical conditions in areas of interestto Ipsen.
 
 
Per the terms of the agreement, Ipsen will make an upfrontpayment to PeptiDream as well as paying research and development andcommercialization costs, for which it will receive worldwide rights to thepeptides that result from the partnership. PeptiDream will receive royalties onworldwide sales, or have the right to opt-in at predefined stages to supportJapan development costs, which would grant it royalty-free commercial rightsfor that territory. Should PeptiDream exercise that option, it will foregoroyalty income for ex-Japan sales. Specific financial details were notreleased.
 
 
Dr. Patrick Reid, chief scientific officer and head ofPeptiDream's discovery programs, identifies this agreement as the first timethe companies have worked together, noting that Ipsen approached them regardinga possible partnership due to Ipsen's interest in the merits of PeptiDream'speptide discovery platform and in shifting towards a peptide focus themselves.
 
"Ipsen and PeptiDream now enter into a researchcollaboration to discover novel highly selective peptides targeting specificserious disease using the synergies of skills and competencies between bothcompanies," Dr. Claude Bertrand, executive vice president of R&D and chiefscientific officer at Ipsen, commented in a statement. "We believe theIpsen-PeptiDream agreement implements our philosophy to apply innovation forfuture patient care."
 
Under the agreement, Reid says that PeptiDream will be responsiblefor utilizing its technology for the identification of novel nonstandardmacrocyclic peptides against targets from Ipsen. Both companies will have ahand in characterizing the candidates and lead optimization, as "both companieshave different talents that we bring to the collaboration that are actuallyvery synergistic."
 
 
He notes that the companies are well matched given theirsimilar interests in peptides, and yet they have "two very different skill setsthat we bring to the table, and the combination is far stronger than either ofus by ourselves." Ipsen brings with it experience in final optimization,delivery and getting a drug to market, while PeptiDream, he says, has become aworld leader in identifying macrocyclic peptides with promising drugproperties. 
 
PeptiDream's peptide library, generated from its peptidediscovery platform system, distinguishes itself from others thanks to the"number and variation of nonstandard macrocyclic libraries we can make andscreen in parallel in a very short period of time," says Reid. He explains thatthe company can create cyclic peptides from 5mers to 30mers, as well as helicalstabilized peptides, and by creating and comparing several libraries ofpeptides against a target, they can "identify thousands of new pharmacophoresagainst a target in a month." Most importantly, Reid notes, PeptiDream hasengineered a way to screen hits without having to chemically synthesize them,allowing for greater speed and the ability to assay peptides for "targetbinding, selectivity, inhibition activity and more recently, membranepermeability and stability."
 
 
This agreement with Ipsen, Reid says, "fits into a newdevelopment arm of building a closer partnership/co-development relationshipwith a mid-size company, where hopefully we tie ourselves together well andtake full advantage of our mutual talents and expertise."
 
 
"This also goes in hand with our own internal [drugdevelopment] efforts, and those are now approaching levels where we are lookingto advance past animal models and hopefully get something into clinical trials,and therefore any experience or know-how we can gain from these variouspartners to turn around and incorporate into our own in-house drug developmentis critical and should make the process far smoother. The future is very brightfor us, and it is for macrocyclic nonstandard peptide therapeutics. I have nodoubt that peptides will be the therapeutic class of the future as far asdrugs," Reid concludes.

Kelsey Kaustinen

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