FORMA forms new oncology collaborations

FORMA Therapeutics, a Watertown, Mass.-based company targeting cancer pathways to develop small molecule cancer therapies, has announced an exclusive alliance with Janssen Biotech, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies.

Kelsey Kaustinen
BOSTON—FORMA Therapeutics, a Watertown, Mass.-based companytargeting cancer pathways to develop small molecule cancer therapies, hasannounced an exclusive alliance with Janssen Biotech, Inc., one of the JanssenPharmaceutical Companies. Under the alliance, the two companies willcollaborate to discover, develop and commercialize novel small molecule drugcandidates that will target tumor metabolism mechanisms.
 
 
"This collaboration with Janssen Biotech further strengthensour drug discovery capabilities and also allows us to look to the future withan opportunity to maintain North American rights, which is a key element of ourstrategy to create long-term shareholder value within FORMA," Steven Tregay,Chief Executive Officer of FORMA, said in a press release regarding the deal. 
 
Per the terms of the research collaboration and licenseoption agreement, FORMA will discover and develop drugs against a panel oftumor metabolism targets, with the potential to receive project and milestonefunding over several years. If all development, regulatory andcommercialization milestones are met for drug candidates launched as a resultof the collaboration, FORMA could receive up to $700 million in funding. Thecompany may also be eligible for royalties on revenues from productscommercialized through the collaboration, and if certain milestones are metduring the initial phase, FORMA will have the option to co-develop and maintainNorth American commercial rights to one program of Janssen's selection. Janssenand FORMA will have the option to expand the partnership to include additionaltargets, as well as in areas beyond tumor metabolism.
 
 
"This collaboration will enable a broad chemical biologyapproach to understanding the unique biology underlying cancer metabolism,"Kenneth Bair, Head of R&D for FORMA, said in a press release.
 
 
The collaboration follows another recent deal by FORMA, one witha similar price tag. On Jan. 5, FORMA announced the beginning of a research anddevelopment collaboration with pharmaceutical giant Boehringer Ingelheim forthe discovery and development of novel drug candidates as potential cancertreatments. The companies will be searching for small molecule drugs that areeffective against oncology relevant protein-protein interactions. Per the termsof the agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim will pay FORMA $65 million in upfrontpayments and research funding to screen for as well as optimize compoundsagainst several oncology targets over the next four years. If allpre-commercial milestones for programs resulting from the collaboration areachieved, FORMA could be eligible for up to $750 million.
 
 
FORMA's approach to discovering and developing cancer therapeutics includes avariety of collaborations and agreements, with additional partners such asEisai, Cubist, Novartis and Genentech. The company's focal points within thefield of oncology include tumor metabolism, protein-protein interactions,epigenetics and selected aspects of stem cell biology.
 
 

SOURCE: FORMA press release

Kelsey Kaustinen

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