ArQule said today it will combine its chemistry and drug development expertise with the discovery platforms of Beryllium Discovery in a collaboration to identify and validate targets for new small-molecule immune-oncology treatments.

The value of the companies’ collaborative R&D agreement was not disclosed.

The companies said they will pursue targets that include PD-1 (programmed cell death protein 1) and PDL-1 (programmed death ligand 1)—two targets for which numerous drug developers are pursuing immunotherapies, according to a recent GEN List.

ArQule and Beryllium reason that molecules that bind to and inhibit the effects of these targets may help direct the immune system to combat a variety of tumors.

“We are excited by the potential synergy in combining complementary technologies and expertise to pursue cost-effective, shared-risk development pathways for the selection of compounds identified from ArQule’s small molecule library or rationally designed through Beryllium’s fragment-based research capabilities and ArQule chemistry technology,” ArQule CMO Brian Schwartz said in a statement.

ArQule focuses on small-molecule cancer therapeutics; its lead product, tivantinib (ARQ 197), is an oral, selective inhibitor of the c-MET receptor tyrosine kinase that is in Phase II/III clinical development. Until now, ArQule’s discovery efforts have been focused on identifying new kinase inhibitors, by leveraging its library of compounds.

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