Pfizer has signed on Compugen to conduct discovery against three targets of its interest. Pfizer will provide the funding, and Compugen expects to synthesize molecules and deliver them to Pfizer within the next few months.
Following an evaluation period, Pfizer will have the right to exercise options for worldwide, exclusive licenses to develop and commercialize selected compounds or further optimize them to obtain final potent, selective product candidates with favorable pharmacokinetic properties. If exercised Pfizer will pay Compugen milestones plus royalties on resulting drugs.
“Although use of our various discovery platforms is now providing us with a growing inventory of novel drug and target candidates for further development and licensing, the most unique aspect of our capabilities is the ability to systematically, and within a short timeframe, provide what we call discovery-on-demand product candidates for selected areas of interest to our partners,” says Anat Cohen-Dayag, Ph.D., president and co-CEO of Compugen. “We are extremely pleased to be entering into this multitarget collaboration with Pfizer, and we look forward to entering into similar agreements with additional pharmaceutical and biopharmaceutical companies.”
During the past few years, Compugen has designed, developed, validated, and disclosed 10 discovery platforms. Most of these discovery engines are based on a process of in silico prediction and selection, followed by synthesis and experimental validation. The initial in silico predictions usually involve a large number of possible candidates, with the selection step resulting in a very small subset, which is expected to have the highest probability of success. These molecules are then prioritized, synthesized, and experimentally validated.
One of the key Compugen platforms to be utilized in the Pfizer collaboration was recently developed and has not yet been publicly disclosed. This new technology is based on a process that is different from the prediction-selection-validation method underlying most of Compugen’s other discovery platforms. The platform uses understandings of certain basic biological phenomena and advanced computational biology to first design in silico, as opposed to selecting molecules that meet the specific requirements needed for them to become optimal therapeutic candidates for the relevant target. These predicted molecular sequences are then synthesized and experimentally validated.
Compugen’s discovery platform is being used by a slew of companies including Bayer Schering Pharma, Merck & Co., Merck Serono, Ortho-Clinical Diagnostics, Pfizer, Roche, and Teva Pharmaceutical.