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GEN News Highlights : Jan 10, 2012

Janssen Taps Forma to Develop Metabolism-Targeting Anticancer Drugs

Potentially $700 million deal involves Forma developing drugs against a panel of tumor targets.

Janssen Biotech and Forma Therapeutics will collaborate on the discovery, development, and commercialization of small molecule drugs targeting tumor metabolism. Forma could receive up to $700 million in project and milestone funding, dependent on development, regulatory, and commercialization milestones, plus royalties on future sales of relevant products.

Under terms of the partnership Forma will generate and develop drugs against a panel of tumor metabolisim targets, although the firms may expand the collaboration to include additional targets including those outside the tumor metabolism field.

The achievement of certain milestones during the initial phase of the collaboration would also give Forma the opportunity to co-develop and retain North American commercial rights to one program of Janssen’s selection.

Forma is exploiting its discovery engine to identify cancer-specific pathways and drug targets, and identify small molecule anticancer compounds. The firm has established drug discovery collaborations and outlicensing deals with cubist Pharmaceuticals, Novartis, the Experimental Therapeutics Centre of Singapore, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Eisai, and Genentech.

Just last week Forma inked a $65 million up-front deal with Boehringer Ingelheim focused on the discovery and development of small molecule drugs targeting cancer-related protein-protein interactions. In December 2011, the firm moved into new corporate headquarters in Watertown, MA, which has provided expanded space for its high-throughput screening, computational and medicinal chemistry, and biology teams.