Add Boehringer Ingelheim to HitGen’s drug discovery collaboration list

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HitGen has formed a drug discovery research collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim to identify novel small-molecule leads.

Boehringer Ingelheim is joining a long list of biopharma companies and research institutes lining up for HitGen’s drug discovery capabilities centered around DNA-encoded library (DEL).

Like its previous collaborations, Chengdu, China-based HitGen did not disclose specific therapeutic areas of interest or financial details, but said it will receive upfront payments and be eligible for milestone payments.

During the synthesis process, HitGen adds building blocks to novel chemical structures through a technique called “Split & Pool,” then encodes each compound with a known sequence of DNA. The company said on its website that it has produced over 800 DELs with all together 85 billion DNA-encoded compounds.

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The compounds are screened simultaneously against a target, and only those with strong affinity to the protein will be advanced into the next phase, where the structures of selected chemicals will be identified via DNA sequencing.

With that technology, HitGen has formed many drug discovery partnerships with the industry and academics. In 2017 alone, before the BI deal, it entered into research collaborations with Takeda, Aduro, Leo Pharma, the Scripps Research Institute, Pfizer, Merck & Co. and Cancer Research U.K.

HitGen currently has more than 20 projects in research, with two in preclinical candidate compound generation and one in lead generation. It offers different partnering models, can design and synthesize DELs on specific requests, screen its DELs against targets provided by a partner and work with partners to co-develop lead candidates or out-license projects.