Drug discovery with strong inflection

Ireland’s Inflection Biosciences licenses preclinical oncology programs from Spanish National Cancer Research Centre

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DUBLIN, Ireland—Aimed at developing small-moleculetherapeutics for the treatment of cancer, Inflection Biosciences Ltd. hasentered into a license agreement with the Spanish National Cancer ResearchCentre (CNIO) of Madrid, Spain, for the exclusive, worldwide rights to developand commercialize several novel kinase inhibitors. 
Based in Dublin and London, Inflection Biosciences iscreating a pipeline of innovative cancer treatments through alliances withleading cancer research organizations, according to the company. The small,privately held company's pipeline includes novel PIM kinase inhibitors andmultitargeting kinase inhibitors in preclinical development.
A perfect fit for the Spanish CNIO, the compounds leveragethe CNIO's expertise in drug discovery and all molecules "have shown goodactivity in preclinical models and are orally-available with excellent pharmaceuticalproperties," the company states.
"Following an extensive global search we are delighted tohave secured assets in late preclinical stages of development of this qualityand potential, and from an organization recognized internationally for the qualityof its cancer research and its drug discovery programs," Michael O'Neill,co-founder and director of research and development at Inflection Biosciences,stated in a news release.
Renowned cancer researcher, Dr. María Blasco, director ofCNIO, added, "It is a great satisfaction for the CNIO to join forces with theexperienced team at Inflection Biosciences, allowing us to take full advantageof our ability to innovate cancer treatments." 
The agreement calls for Inflection Biosciences and CNIO tocollaborate on additional preclinical studies. Inflection Biosciences will havethe responsibility for nominating lead candidates for future development.
Inflection Biosciences also announced that it has securedits first financing round from a private investor and from Enterprise Ireland.The funds raised will primarily be used to advance the company's developmentpipeline.
"We are grateful to our investors for sharing our vision tomake a real contribution to the development of important new treatments for patientssuffering with cancer," Darren Cunningham, co-founder and CEO of InflectionBiosciences, stated in a news release.The deal was made "following a two-year review of over 150cancer development programs from leading research institutes around the world,"Cunningham tells DDNEWS. The agreementwith CNIO gave Inflection Biosciences the "worldwide rights to develop andcommercialize potentially groundbreaking cancer therapeutics currently in latepreclinical stages of development.
"The programs licensed are kinase inhibitors, an importantnew class of targeted therapy that interfere with specific cell signalingpathways and thus allow target-specific therapy for selected cancers,"Cunningham says. "Kinase inhibitors are associated with lower attrition ratesin clinical development, demonstrating further the benefits of developingmolecularly targeted therapeutics for cancer."
Examples of successful targeted kinase inhibitors includeNovartis' Gleevec, which generates annual revenues in excess of $4 billionworldwide, he says. The current agreement calls for both Inflection and CNIO toconduct final preclinical studies in the coming months.
Inflection Biosciences also partners with "leading andreputable international oncology-focused contract research organizations tosupport its development requirements for the programs as it prepares for firstin human studies," Cunningham says. Inflection Biosciences will team up with alarger pharmaceutical company over the next three to five years to support latestage clinical development, he adds.
"There is a significant demand by larger pharmaceuticalcompanies for innovative cancer therapeutics as this area of oncology generatesmore deal flow than any other in the industry, all driven by the major unmetmedical needs in cancer," Cunningham notes. "It is widely reported that thetraditional Big Pharma model, which relied significantly on internal discoveryof blockbusters, is no longer as effective and requires overhaul."
Many of the larger pharmaceutical companies "have announcedclosures of major in-house discovery and research facilities and placed agreater emphasis on licensing in innovation," he adds. "This offers goodopportunities for small companies with the right assets to partner with largerpharma companies."

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