DIJON, France—Drug discovery company Oncodesign has announced the establishment of a research collaboration and exclusive license option with UCB, a global biopharma focused on products for central nervous system disorders and immunology. Per the terms of the agreement, UCB will receive an exclusive option to license the joint program—with worldwide development and commercialization rights—once certain discovery milestones are met. For its part, Oncodesign is entitled to receive funding from UCB for the program’s research activities. Additionally, should UCB exercise its license option, Oncodesign stands to receive a program access fee as well as additional research, development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments for the development of molecules in two or more indications. Oncodesign will also be eligible for tiered royalties on net sales. Specific financial details were not released.
The collaboration brings together UCB’s experience in central nervous system disorders and Oncodesign’s Nanocyclix technology, which will be applied to a kinase target selected by UCB in hopes of identifying potent and selective inhibitors capable of crossing the blood brain barrier.
“We are very excited to partner with UCB for the first time on this exclusive research collaboration and license option in the field of neurodegenerative disorders, an area with high unmet needs for a large patient population,” Jan Hoflack, Ph.D., chief scientific officer and head of discovery activities at Oncodesign, said in a press release. “This new collaboration demonstrates the growing interest that the pharmaceutical industry has in our Nanocyclix technology. This allows us to discover innovative inhibitors for kinases that are otherwise difficult to address.”
The Nanocyclix technology is a proprietary medicinal chemistry platform based on small-molecule macrocyclization. As Oncodesign describes it, the technology “enhances a ligand’s potency and selectivity towards its receptor due to conformational pre-organization and tighter binding site recognition.” This results in kinase inhibitors with appealing physiochemical and ADME properties. Oncodesign has utilized this technology to develop Nanokinib, a kinase-focused library of proprietary small-molecule macrocycles. Oncodesign notes that Nanokinib currently contains “over 4,000 diverse kinase inhibitors that were broadly profiled across the human kinome and in early ADME models.”
“This collaboration with UCB further establishes Oncodesign as a major player in the drug discovery field. It strengthens our strategy of early partnering with leading international pharmaceutical companies in fields outside of oncology. This, together with our internal focus on innovative programs against cancer, constitutes a strong basis for addressing major unmet needs in patients and value creation,” Philippe Genne, Ph.D., chairman and CEO of Oncodesign, commented in a statement.
This is not the only recent partnership for either company. At the end of September, UCB announced a collaboration with Vectura Group plc to develop an innovative biologic immunomodulatory product in severe inflammatory respiratory disease, though no financial terms were released. For its part, Oncodesign announced a collaboration agreement with Banook Central Imaging in early September for the development of biomarkers in clinical imaging, and signed a partnership agreement and option for an exclusive license with Sanofi in late March.