Getting together

A roundup of recent discovery-related deals and agreements

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We often focus a bit more on the science and technology when it comes to this section of DDNews, but here’s a quick look at some of the deal-making and partnering recently that is aimed at discovery-related goals.
Increasing clients’ opportunities for hits
CHICAGO—SAMDI Tech Inc., a provider of label-free drug discovery solutions, has partnered with Charles River Laboratories, which provides products and services that accelerate research and drug development efforts, to expand its small-molecule screening collection and maximize its clients’ opportunities to discover hit compounds for their drug discovery projects.
Through the two-year partnership, SAMDI Tech’s clients will be able to use more than 150,000 sourced molecules from Charles River’s premier collection of lead-like compounds in their drug discovery projects. With access to more than one million small molecules in total, SAMDI Tech’s clients can choose to complete their high-throughput projects with any combination of molecules from its vendors or its own libraries.
“Bringing together a diverse set of high-quality compounds and the benefits of SAMDI technology not only speeds up timelines and maximizes the probability of finding early-stage drug candidates for our clients, it takes them one step closer to clinical trials with a new treatment option,” said Dr. Emilio Córdova, CEO of SAMDI Tech.
Using its proprietary label-free, high-throughput SAMDI assay, SAMDI Tech screens any number of compounds against a client’s target while ensuring industry-leading turnaround times and high-quality data that accelerate discovery efforts.
“We are pleased to partner with SAMDI Tech to combine our experience in compiling high-quality screening libraries with their proprietary screening technology,” said Jackie Macritchie, senior managing director of discovery at Charles River. “Leveraging SAMDI Tech’s technology and Charles River’s diversity screening library enhances the potential for identifying hit molecules across a wide range of target classes and disease areas.”
A platform for DMD
GRENOBLE, France & NEW YORK—CYTOO and Pfizer Inc. announced a research collaboration to modify CYTOO’s existing MyoScreen platform to enable its potential use as a Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) target discovery platform.
DMD is a rare and life-threatening genetic disorder caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene that results in progressive muscle degeneration and weakness. By the early teens, most individuals with DMD have lost the ability to walk unassisted and their heart and respiratory muscles have also weakened. Individuals with DMD usually die from cardiomyopathy and respiratory failure in their second decade of life.
CYTOO has developed a muscle-on-a-plate platform using patients’ primary cells, called MyoScreen. MyoScreen is an in-vitro system in which skeletal muscle cells mimic the morphology, contractile and metabolic functions of human muscle in vivo and therefore allows analyses of the molecular mechanisms involved in such functions in health and disease.
Under the terms of the agreement, Pfizer and CYTOO will work together to develop and validate such a target discovery platform using a DMD patient muscle-derived MyoScreen platform. The goal of the collaboration is to attempt to establish a robust in-vitro system that may be used for a high throughput target identification screen. Should such a system be developed, Pfizer will have an option to acquire a license for the use of the resulting platform for DMD target identification efforts.
Dr. John Murphy, vice president of biology in Pfizer’s Rare Disease Research Unit, said: “Although the genetic cause of DMD has been known for years, little is known about the molecular functions that are affected in DMD muscles. Pfizer is committed to early stage DMD research and target identification.”
HiFiBiO signs multitarget antibody deal with Takeda
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., SHANGHAI & PARIS—HiFiBiO Therapeutics, a leader in discovery of therapeutic antibodies through single B cell screening and analysis, this summer announced a multitarget agreement with Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. to enable the discovery of breakthrough antibody therapies to potentially treat various gastrointestinal diseases, cancers and other disorders. HiFiBiO Therapeutics will receive upfront, R&D, milestone and royalty payments based on antibodies delivered to Takeda for development and commercialization. Specific financial terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
According to the agreement, scientists from both companies will work together to discover antibodies against Takeda’s targets using HiFiBiO Therapeutics’ single-cell screening capabilities. Takeda will be responsible for the preclinical and clinical development of the discovered antibodies.
 “Takeda is a world leader in oncology, gastroenterology and neuroscience therapeutics,” said Dr. Liang Schweizer, president and CEO of HiFiBiO Therapeutics. “This multitarget partnership further validates our ongoing commitment to these types of open-innovation collaborations to better address unmet medical needs around the world.”

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