Drug discovery firm and oncology pharmacology service provider Oncodesign is now in a research collaboration with Belgian firm UCB with the goal of discovering new therapeutic solutions for neurodegenerative disorders. Oncodesign will be applying its Nanocyclix® technology on a kinase target selected by UCB with the aim of discovering selective inhibitors that cross the blood-brain barrier.

Per the agreement, UCB is granted an exclusive option to license the joint program with worldwide development and commercialization rights upon reaching certain discovery milestones successfully. Oncodesign is entitled to funding for the program’s research activities. Upon exercise of the license option, the firm will also be entitled to a program access fee and additional research, development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments for the development of molecules in two or more indications, as well as tiered royalties on net sales.

Oncodesign describes their Nanocyclix technology as a medicinal chemistry platform based on small molecule macrocyclization. The firm says the technology can give access to highly selective and potent kinase inhibitors with attractive physicochemical and ADME properties. The first drug discovery partnership Oncodesign made based on Nanocyclix technology with a major biopharmaceutical company was with Ipsen in January of 2012 to discover and develop LRRK2 kinase inhibitors against Parkinson disease and possibly other disorders—a deal said to be potentially worth up to $149 million at the time.

“This new collaboration demonstrates the growing interest that the pharmaceutical industry has in our Nanocyclix technology,” said Jan Hoflack, Ph.D., CSO and head of Oncodesign’s discovery activities, in a statement. “This allows us to discover innovative inhibitors for kinases that are otherwise difficult to address.”

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