Deal gives the Roche subsidiary an option to acquire the entire program at a defined development stage.

Genentech negotiated exclusive worldwide rights to acquire one of Forma Therapeutics’ preclinical-stage small molecule anticancer programs. Under the terms of the deal the firms have established an initial research collaboration, after which Genentech will take over all development responsibilities, and retains an option to acquire the entire program from Forma at a defined future phase of development.

In return Forma will receive an up-front payment, research funding, and development milestones. If Genentech subsequently acquires the program Forma will also receive a buy-out payment and additional sales-based milestones. “This agreement provides Forma with significant near-term financial resources to accelerate the additional internal drug discovery programs ongoing at Forma targeting essential cancer targets in the areas such as cancer metabolism and protein-protein interactions,” comments Ken Bair, head of R&D of Forma.

Forma is exploiting its HTS platform and cell-based screening platform to identify anticancer candidates targeting areas such as tumor metabolism and protein-protein interactions. The firm has assembled a small molecule collection comprising over 500,000 compounds, including its Diversity Oriented Synthesis (DOS) library. The DOS platform combines the high stereochemical and structural diversity found in natural products with traditional combinatorial chemistry techniques.

Over the last couple of years Forma has established drug discovery collaborations in multiple fields with partners including Novartis, Cubist, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Experimental Therapeutics Centre of Singapore. Most recently, in November 2010, the firm inked a drug discovery collaboration with Eisai giving the latter nonexclusive access to the DOS compound library and cell-based screening platforms to support the discovery of compounds for Eisai’s pipeline.

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