Verastem Enters Research Collaboration with Eisai for Small Molecule Wnt Inhibitors
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Jul 12, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Verastem, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing drugs to treat breast and other cancers by targeting cancer stem cells, announced a research collaboration with Eisai for the next-generation of small molecule Wnt inhibitors.
Verastem scientific co-founder and chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, Robert Weinberg, Ph.D., published a report in 2011 in the journal Cell describing the critical nature of the Wnt pathway in the development and maintenance of cancer stem cells.
"Verastem and Eisai have a shared vision for the utility of Wnt inhibitors in the treatment of cancer," said Jonathan Pachter, Ph.D., Verastem Vice President and Head of Research. "Our Wnt inhibitor, VS-507, shows activity in multiple cancer stem cell models both in vitro and in human tumor xenografts. Through this collaboration with Eisai, a world leader in complex natural product chemistry, we can jointly leverage our unique capabilities to develop the next-generation of Wnt inhibitors for the targeted killing of cancer stem cells."
VS-507 is a proprietary formulation of salinomycin and will be the starting point for the development of proprietary analogs in the collaboration with Eisai. The resulting compounds will be tested in Verastem's Wnt signaling and cancer stem cell assays to evaluate their selective activity. Verastem will own the analogs that are generated in the 12-month collaboration. Eisai will be eligible to receive royalties on commercial sales of identified products. During the term of the agreement, Eisai has a right of first negotiation for products that are created through the collaboration.
"With their particular expertise in natural product chemistry, Eisai is the perfect partner," said Robert Forrester, Verastem Chief Operating Officer. "We believe Wnt signaling is a critical regulator of cancer stem cells, and a combined research effort to find novel inhibitors of this pathway is of great interest to both Eisai and Verastem."
About Verastem, Inc.
Verastem, Inc. VSTM +3.24% is a biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing drugs to treat breast and other cancers by targeting cancer stem cells. Cancer stem cells are an underlying cause of tumor recurrence and metastasis. For more information please visit www.verastem.com .
About Eisai Co., Ltd.
Eisai Co., Ltd. is a research-based human health care (hhc) company that discovers, develops and markets products throughout the world. Through a global network of research facilities, manufacturing sites and marketing subsidiaries, Eisai actively participates in all aspects of the worldwide healthcare system. For more information about Eisai, please visit www.eisai.com .
This press release includes certain forward-looking statements about the Company's future expectations, plans and prospects, including statements regarding the development of Wnt inhibitors by the Company and Eisai, the Company's obligations to pay royalties to Eisai if any Wnt inhibitors are successfully developed or commercialized and the ability of the Company to finance contemplated development activities. Forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as "intends," "anticipates," "believes," "plans," "will," "seeks" and similar terms. Each forward-looking statement is subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in such statement. Applicable risks and uncertainties include the risks that that collaboration agreement will be terminated by either party before any Wnt inhibitors are developed, that the Company and Eisai will be unable to successfully complete the clinical development of any Wnt inhibitors, that the development of Wnt inhibitors will take longer or cost more than planned, and that any Wnt inhibitors that are developed will not receive regulatory approval or become commercially successful products. Other risks and uncertainties include those identified under the heading "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 and in any subsequent filings. The Company does not undertake and specifically disclaims any obligation to release publicly revisions that may be made to any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date of such statements or to reflect the occurrence of events, whether or not anticipated.
SOURCE: Verastem, Inc.