Pfizer to acquire Serenex to extend oncology pipeline and access novel technology platform

Consistent with its stated corporate strategy to bolster its oncology franchise Pfizer Inc.

Chris Anderson
NEW YORK—Consistent with its stated corporate strategy to bolster its oncology franchise Pfizer Inc. recently announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Serenex Inc., a privately-held biotechnology company with a Phase I clinical candidate and an extensive compound library that targets Heat Shock Protein 90 (Hsp90), a promising cancer target.
 
Under the agreement, Pfizer will acquire the rights to SNX-5422, an oral Hsp90 inhibitor currently in Phase I trials for the potential treatment of solid tumors and hematological malignancies. Pfizer will also acquire Serenex's proprietary drug discovery technology and extensive small molecule Hsp90 inhibitor compound library. Compounds from this library have potential uses in treating deadly and debilitating diseases, such as cancer, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. SNX-1012, another compound in clinical development for the treatment of oral mucositis in cancer patients, is not included in the agreement.
 
"The agreement to acquire Serenex is the latest step in the execution of Pfizer's strategy to expand our commitment to oncology, an area where Pfizer plans to establish a leadership position," notes Jeffrey Kindler, chairman and CEO of Pfizer in a press release announcing the deal.
 
While the play to acquire Serenex provides a promising oncology compound that has already entered the clinic, that is not the only area where Hsp90 inhibitors have shown promise. According to the company Web site, it also has preclinical programs in this area targeting inflammatory diseases, fungal infection resistance, viruses and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's. Its novel discovery platform also turns the traditional on it head. Rather than screening multiple compounds against a single target, its technology allows for the screening drug-like compound libraries against thousands of therapeutic and toxicity targets, an approach Serenex notes "rapidly generates high quality hits, often against targets that are impossible or difficult to screen against."

Chris Anderson

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