Focus will be on six epigenetic targets established as part of prior agreement.

CellCentric expanded its agreement with Shanghai-based CRO HD Biosciences to progress its drug discovery programs targeting multiple enzyme classes. Six novel targets prioritized from a pool of candidates now represent the main drive of CellCentric’s discovery efforts.

The new deal builds on a previous collaboration centered on screening an initial set of epigenetic targets identified by CellCentric. Errors in epigenetic control mechanisms can result in abnormal cellular behavior and are implicated in a wide range of diseases including cancer, inflammatory and cardiac disorders, neurodegenerative diseases, as well as diabetes.

CellCentrics’s small molecule discovery programs cover a range of enzyme classes including demethylases, methyltransferases, and ubiquitin modulators. Assays have been developed for target classes including protein methyltransferases, protein demethylases, ubiquitin ligases, and cell surface receptors in different epigenetic pathways.

In January 2009, the company signed an agreement with the Japanese pharmaceutical giant Takeda covering validation of an epigenetic target implicated in cancer.

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