Ensemble Discovery Initiates Collaboration with Pfizer to Develop Novel Drugs against Protein-Protein Interaction Targets
Second Major Alliance Validates Ensemble Leadership in New Therapeutic Space
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ensemble Discovery today announced the initiation of a strategic alliance with Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) to discover and develop drug candidates of a novel class against a number of high-value pharmaceutical targets.
The collaboration will deploy Ensemble's proprietary drug discovery platforms and EnsemblinTM compound libraries to discover and advance drug candidates. Pfizer will provide upfront and research payments to Ensemble and will have the right to develop and commercialize any products arising from the collaboration. In addition, Ensemble will receive development milestones plus royalties based on worldwide sales of any drugs emerging from the alliance and commercialized by Pfizer.
The goal of the alliance is to develop Ensemblins against important therapeutic targets, particularly those involving protein-protein interactions. Ensemblins are a new class of oral drugs developed by Ensemble to address disease targets that cannot be modulated effectively by traditional small molecule pharmaceuticals.
"We are excited to launch our new alliance with Pfizer," said Dr. Michael D. Taylor, CEO of Ensemble Discovery. "This is our second major alliance in less than a year and it attributes a significantly increased value to our platform and its resultant products. This deal supports Ensemble's position as the leading company exploring new therapeutic opportunities between small molecules and biologics."
Tony Wood, Ph.D., Global Head of Chemistry at Pfizer said, "Pfizer is very pleased to join this collaboration. The Ensemble technology platform will give us access to an area of chemical space not currently well-represented in our file that holds the potential to be of utility in addressing novel target types."
Historically, the biopharmaceutical industry has focused its drug discovery on oral small molecules, which obey the "rule-of-five", and large protein biologics, which cannot address targets inside cells or be administered orally. A large region of molecular diversity exists between these classes, containing very few approved drugs. Ensemble aims to be the leading company in this space; Ensemblins are synthetic macrocycles designed to access this space and to have oral availability and other advantages of small molecules combined with the biochemical power of biologics.
"Our Ensemblin platform advanced massively during 2009 and our capabilities will increase further in 2010," said Nick Terrett, CSO of Ensemble Discovery. "There is a growing recognition in the large pharma companies of the need for novel chemistry capability to attack the many targets with strong biological validation that do not lend themselves to conventional small molecule or biologic drugs. Our progress has demonstrated the power of the Ensemblins to address those targets, as our leading projects have advanced to demonstrate oral efficacy in preclinical disease models."
EnsemblinsTM are a new class of synthetic macrocycles developed by Ensemble using its proprietary chemistry platforms, including DNA-Programmed ChemistryTM. 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. Ensemble has produced larger libraries of macrocyclic drug candidates than any previously synthesized in the pharmaceutical industry.
About Ensemble Discovery Corporation
Based in Cambridge, MA, Ensemble Discovery Corporation is deploying its proprietary chemistry platforms to develop a novel class of therapeutics known as "Ensemblins". Ensemble is the exclusive worldwide licensee from Harvard University of its patents covering DNA-Programmed Chemistry.
Ensemble is pursuing a proprietary drug pipeline and also collaborations with pharmaceutical partners. Ensemble established its first drug discovery alliance with Bristol-Myers Squibb in April 2009. Ensemble's lead proprietary programs are in the inflammatory disease field, including programs to target the TNF receptor superfamily.