Cenix BioScience links up with Debiopharm in research agreement

Cenix will support Debiopharm as the latter continues to develop therapeutic drug candidates

Kelsey Kaustinen
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LAUSANNE, Switzerland—Cenix BioScience and Swiss globalbiopharmaceutical organization Debiopharm Group have announced the formation of aresearch agreement under which Cenix will support Debiopharm as the latterseeks to develop novel therapeutic drug candidates.
Per the terms of the research framework's first project,Cenix will make use of its expertise in combining high-throughput screeningwith high-content assays in cultured human cells for the identification ofpredictive biomarkers for Debiopharm's preclinical oncology candidates.
"We look forward to working with Cenix, whose specialistexpertise, longstanding leadership and unrivaled track record in this fieldmade them an ideal partner," Dr. Hiroaki Tanaka, director of PersonalizedMedicine at Debiopharm, said in a press release regarding the deal. "The opportunity to benefitfrom such depth of knowledge, experience and extensively validated capabilitiesis considered as the most strategically important resource for preclinicalbiomarkers discovery."
Multi-parametric microscopy-based readouts generated byCenix through the use of the Definiens XD image analysis platform will beapplied to several human cancer cell models for the identification of genes andpathways that could serve to either enhance or suppress the drug's therapeuticeffects.
"We are very excited to launch this new relationship withDebiopharm, extending their repertoire with what we consider to be some of themost strategically powerful cell-based screening paradigms developed to date,"Dr. Christophe Echeverri, CEO and chief scientific officer of Cenix, commentedin a statement. "We deeply appreciate and are particularly gratified by thisimplied trust from yet another world-class and forward-leaning drug developmentorganization, who also happens to be a long-standing expert in R&Doutsourcing."
This is the third agreement in two months announced byDebiopharm Group, and the second to focus specifically on biomarkers.Debiopharm announced on April 10 that it had initiated a licensing agreement withglobal pharmaceutical contracting organization Shasun Pharmaceuticals Ltd. tomanufacture and commercialized Huperzine-A, a potent and reversibleacetylcholinesterase inhibitor. Clinical studies of the compound have shown itto significantly improve cognitive performance and memory deficit inAlzheimer's patients. The agreement provides Shasun Pharmaceuticals with accessto Debiopharm technology for the manufacture of synthetic Huperzine-A under GMPquality conditions, and commercialization of the product in pharmaceutical andnutraceutical markets.
The company's other biomarker agreement was announced almostone month ago exactly, when Debiopharm noted that together with Oncotest GmbH,the first biomarker projects at Oncotest had been completed. The project, whichgenerated pharmacological data on Debiopharm's investigational compound inOncotest's three-dimensional assay system, led to the identification of severalpredictive biomarker candidates, which included a gene signature.

Kelsey Kaustinen

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