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GEN News Highlights : Nov 17, 2010

Forma to Receive at Least $20M from Eisai through Drug Discovery Collaboration

Eisai’s U.S. business will tap new partner’s DOS compound library and screening platform.

Forma Therapeutics will receive at least $20 million from Eisai as part of a drug discovery collaboration with the latter’s U.S. subsidiary. The agreement gives Eisai access to Forma’s computer-generated Diversity Oriented Synthesis (DOS) compound library and cell-based screening platforms to support the discovery of compounds for its own pipeline. Eisai also has an option for the technology transfer of Forma’s screening platform.

In addition to receiving $20 million in up-front payments and committed funding over three years, Forma could earn additional milestones and royalties on future products developed and commercialized by Eisai as a result of their partnership.

“The collaboration provides further validation of Forma’s integrated drug discovery platform and demonstrates our capabilities for unlocking new druggable targets for both our internal product pipeline and for our partners,” comments Steven Tregay, Forma CEO. “This agreement provides significant, additional financial flexibility to pursue our internal drug discovery and development programs in oncology.”

Forma is exploiting its drug discovery capabilities to build a pipeline of drugs against previously problematic cancer targets, such as those associated with cancer stem cells, tumor cell metabolism, programmed cell death, or epigenetic mechanisms.

The firm’s drug discovery capabilities hinge on its structure-guided drug discovery (SGDD) approach and DOS platform, combined with chemical biology and screening technologies and integrated bioinformatics. It claims SGDD is a unique integration of several tools, including the CS-Map (Computational Solvent Mapping) technology, high-throughput structural biology capabilities (accessed through a strategic partnership with Emerald BioStructures), and proprietary SAR by NMR technology.

The DOS platform has been developed to generate compounds for challenging drug targets, Forma explains. DOS accesses novel chemical space that is distinct from other compound libraries by combining the high stereochemical and structural diversity found in natural products with traditional combinatorial chemistry techniques.

Headquartered in Cambridge (MA), Forma has additional operations in Connecticut and Singapore.