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GEN News Highlights : May 29, 2012

Genentech, Ensemble Partner on Macrocyclic Drug Development

Collaboration will exploit Ensemblin platform to identify synthetic macrocyclics against Genentech targets.

Roche’s Genentech established a collaboration with Ensemble Therapeutics focused on identifying macrocyclic Ensemblin™ drug candidates against specified Genentech targets. Under terms of the deal Genentech will have the right to develop and commercialize lead molecules in return for paying Ensemble an up-front fee, development milestones, and royalties on future sales of relevant products.

Ensemble Therapeutics is leveraging its DNA-Programmed Chemistry™ (DPC™) platform to develop a class of synthetically engineered small molecule macrocyclic drugs known as Ensemblins, which it claims can address targets including protein-protein interactions, phosphatases, and proteases that aren’t accessible to conventional small molecule drugs. The firm is exploiting the technology both to develop an in-house pipeline of oral candidates against cancer and immuno-inflammatory diseases as well as through drug discovery partnerships.

In-house R&D is focused largely on identifying Ensemblins that inhibit protein-protein or protein-peptide interactions. It is headed by a preclinical-stage interleukin-17 antagonist, which is in development as a potential candidate for treating inflammatory and autoimmune diseases. Ensemble has Ensemblin discovery and development partnerships ongoing with Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer.