AstraZeneca (AZ) has agreed to license three drug discovery programs of X-Chem aimed at finding protein-protein interaction targets in oncology and respiratory/inflammation, as well as an antibacterial target, after achieving several milestones under a 16-month-old collaboration that was unannounced until now.

The value of the programs was not disclosed, though X-Chem—which announced the licensing deal—said the collaboration with AZ would enable to it receive an up-front payment and research funding, with the potential for payments tied to undisclosed discovery and clinical development milestones.

X-Chem said the licensing deal was based on the success of its small molecule drug discovery platform to discover novel, potent, and selective lead compounds against a range of targets.

“Today’s announcement illustrates X-Chem’s ability to serve as a leading source of novel small molecule therapeutics for our research partners. Our discovery platform capitalizes on multiple proprietary innovations in library design, screening methodology, and informatics that underlie its exceptional performance at identifying novel leads and addressing previously ‘undruggable’ targets,” X-Chem CEO Rick Wagner, Ph.D., said in a statement.

Mike Snowden, AZ’s vp of discovery sciences, said the collaboration with X-Chem “has enabled generation of novel chemical series for three of our key therapeutic programs and is an important part of our small molecule discovery strategy.”

AZ is one of several pharma giants, biotechnology organizations, and academic centers with which X-Chem says it has launched drug discovery collaborations in recent years.

Besides AZ, X-Chem has disclosed only one of those partners. In 2010, Roche agreed to apply X-Chem’s platform against several “high-value” therapeutic targets, in return for paying X-Chem up-front and research payments, additional payments tied to success-based discovery milestones, and technology access fees, plus potential developmental milestone payments and royalties based on worldwide sales of products developed with Roche. The pharma giant won rights to develop and commercialize any product arising from the collaboration.

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