CRO Atheris hooks up with Debiopharm for cancer R&D

Swiss CRO Atheris Laboratories has signed a deal with Debiopharm to help develop a peptide cancer drug, optimizing leads through its innovative venom-derived platform.

Under the agreement, Atheris will apply its "venomics" technology to improve efficacy, potency, selectivity and stability for Debio 0826, an oncology candidate under development. The CRO specializes in optimizing leads with its proprietary multiplex synthetic venom platform, using what it calls Reverse Discovery, a method that taps probabilistic algorithms to identify candidates.

"Atheris has demonstrated its commitment with pharma and biotech companies to help accelerate drug discovery with cutting-edge venomics technology," Atheris CEO Reto Stöcklin said in a statement. "We are particularly proud of this partnership with Debiopharm that consolidates our leadership and reinforces our Reverse Discovery platform for lead optimization."

For Debiopharm, Debio 0826 presents another opportunity to develop and ship out a promising asset, and Atheris' discovery technology is ideal for peptide R&D, said Chief Science Officer Andrés McAllister. The Swiss drug developer functions as sort of a middleman in the biotech world, in-licensing candidate therapies, developing them through Phase III and then out-licensing treatments for sales and marketing.

Over the past year, Debiopharm has inked similar deals with CROs around the world to provide services like discovery, biomarker validation and preclinical research.

- read the announcement