Two firms report receiving milestones today as part of their respective partnerships. PolyTherics received a milestone payment from Celtic Pharma triggered by further progress on their hematology alliance to produce longer-acting versions of blood factor proteins, and Receptos achieved a milestone with Ono Pharmaceuticals by determining a novel protein crystal structure of a GPCR drug discovery target.

Last year, Celtic (through its subsidiary Cantab Biopharmaceuticals) and PolyTherics evaluated the use of PolyTherics’ TheraPEG™ technology to develop a long-acting PEGylated form of Blood Factor VIII (TheraPEG-FVIII) to treat hemophilia A. Celtic subsequently exercised its option to take an exclusive global licence to use TheraPEG to develop and commercialize a TheraPEG-FVIII product.

TheraPEG-FVIII, given by both the intravenous and subcutaneous routes, maintained hemostasis for up to 72 hours in a preclinical model of naturally occurring hemophilia A, the firms report. They claim this indicates that patients could be adequately treated with once-a-week dosing compared to current treatment regimens, which require an average of three doses a week.

Celtic already has exclusive, global licences to use TheraPEG technology to develop and commercialize long-acting forms of Factor IX (for the treatment of hemophilia B) and Factor VIIa (for the treatment of hemophilia types A or B in patients with an immune response to FVIII or FIX, respectively). PolyTherics says it is due to receive development and regulatory milestones as well as royalties on future worldwide product sales as part of those agreements. Other firms leveraging PolyTherics’ TheraPEG technology include Pro Bono Bio and Spirogen.

Today’s second reported milestone stems from a technology collaboration initiated in December of 2011, when Ono made a deal to access Receptos’ GPCR structure determination technology platform, which enables rational drug design for the GPCR target class. The current milestone, achieved by Receptos determining a novel GPCR structure for Ono, represents the third significant milestone met.

The Receptos GPCR drug discovery platform is differentiated to allow rapid generation of functional, stabilized target protein in as little as four months, according to the firm. In addition to crystal structure determination, this protein can be used in a variety of screening modes allowing identification of small molecule chemotypes or as antigen for the generation of therapeutic antibody candidates. In addition to this alliance with Ono, Receptos has completed a partnership with Janssen Pharmaceuticals and a collaboration with Eli Lilly.

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