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GEN News Highlights : Dec 20, 2010

Abbott and EpiTherapeutics Ally to Develop Epigenetic Cancer Drugs

Collaboration will exploit epigenetics expertise for enzyme inhibition.

Abbott is teaming up with Danish firm EpiTherapeutics to develop small molecule inhibitors targeting epigenetic cancer targets. The three-year research collaboration will be carried out at both firms and exploit EpiTherapeutics’ expertise in the epigenetics field.

EpiTherapeutics is leveraging epigenetics expertise developed by researchers at the Biotech Research & Innovation Centre (BRIC) at University of Copenhagen. The firm is building its IP platform in the field of histone demethylases and methyltransferases and is working to expand its in-house pipeline of small molecule inhibitors of key enzymes.

EpiTherapeutics is also looking to leverage its capabilities through collaborations with the industry. In mid-December the firm announced that Merck Serono Ventures (MSV) had joined the firm’s existing seed investor syndicate. The additional investment has taken total funding in EpiTherapeutics to DKK51.5 million ($9.1 million) since it was founded in October 2008. Existing investors include Lundbeckfond Ventures, Novo Seeds, SEED Capital and OSI Pharmaceuticals.