Ensemble Therapeutics, a biotechnology company developing EnsemblinsTM, a novel class of small molecule therapeutics with the power of biologics, today announced the initiation of a drug discovery collaboration with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY), to discover macrocyclic drug candidates against targets specified by Genentech.
The collaboration will deploy Ensemble’s proprietary drug discovery platform, including its Ensemblin™ collection of over 5 million macrocycles, to discover novel drug candidates against Genentech’s drug targets. Genentech will have the right to develop and commercialize lead molecules arising from the collaboration.
Under the terms of the agreement, Ensemble will receive an undisclosed upfront payment and milestone payments upon the successful achievement of certain development milestones. In addition, Ensemble is eligible to receive royalties on future sales of products that arise from the collaboration.
“We are pleased to join forces with Genentech, a universally-recognized leader in drug discovery and development, to further exploit Ensemble’s unique macrocyclic drug discovery capability,” said Dr. Michael D. Taylor, CEO of Ensemble Therapeutics. “This collaboration further validates the wide-ranging potential of our Ensemblin drug discovery platforms while providing Ensemble with additional resources to advance our own internal pipeline.”
James Sabry, Genentech’s Vice President of Partnering, said, “We believe Ensemble’s approach to develop macrocyclic small molecules to address drug discovery targets that have proven difficult to modulate with traditional approaches could result in innovative new medicines.”
The collaboration with Genentech builds on Ensemble’s business model to partner with drug development leaders, with this as the third collaboration with a major pharmaceutical company, to leverage the Ensemblin discovery engine to identify novel macrocyclic drug candidates.
Ensemblins™ are a new class of synthetic macrocycles developed by Ensemble using its proprietary chemistry platforms, including DNA-Programmed Chemistry. Macrocyclic rings are found in many natural product-based drugs and bestow favorable pharmaceutical properties and powerful protein surface binding properties upon such drugs. Thus, macrocycles are uniquely suited to address many protein targets that cannot be modulated effectively by traditional small molecule pharmaceutical compounds. Macrocycles have been challenging to synthesize in large numbers and this has constrained their wider use in the industry. By extending beyond the limits of traditional small molecule drug discovery, Ensemble’s platform provides unmatched capabilities to successfully and reliably generate millions of macrocyclic Ensemblins as drug candidates, larger than any collection previously synthesized in the pharmaceutical industry.
About Ensemble Therapeutics Corporation
Based in Cambridge, MA, Ensemble Therapeutics is deploying its proprietary chemistry platforms to develop a novel class of therapeutics known as “Ensemblins”. Ensemble is leveraging its macrocyclic drug discovery expertise to fuel its proprietary drug candidate pipeline while also pursuing collaborations with pharmaceutical partners. Ensemble has established high-value partnerships including alliances with Genentech, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer. Ensemble develops Ensemblins against pharmaceutical targets for which a strong therapeutic rationale exists but which have not been previously or optimally addressed with traditional small molecules. Although some of those targets might be addressed with biologics, many opportunities remain unexploited either because a small molecule oral medication is a preferred route of administration or because the target is inaccessible to biologics. Ensemble’s internal discovery and development efforts are focused on the key therapeutic areas of oncology and immuno-inflammatory diseases, with its lead program, a small molecule antagonist of Interleukin-17, a cytokine implicated in multiple inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, poised to enter development with an orally active candidate by the end of 2012. For more information, visit: www.ensembletx.com.