Hydra Biosciences, a Cambridge, MA-based biopharma company, is teaming up with Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) to develop small molecule TRPC4/5 inhibitors for the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) diseases and disorders. The firms will be identifying and developing candidates together, with BI in charge of global development and commercialization of any inhibitors that result from the deal. BI is also giving Hydra an upfront payment and additional research funding, as well as milestone payments and royalty payments on future sales.
One of Hydra's focuses is transient receptor potential (TRP) channel modulation, TRPs being a family of ion channels that the firm says offer a lot of potential drug discovery possibilities for many different illnesses, including CNS disorders. “The combination of Hydra’s unique understanding of TRP channels and BI’s proven research, development, and commercialization capabilities provides an excellent opportunity to maximize the potential of these novel targets,” Hydra's president and CEO Russell Herndon said in a statement.
Hydra is also in a collaboration with Cubist stretching back to 2009 to develop ion channel compounds that target the transient receptor potential ankyrin repeat 1 (TRPA1) receptor, believed to play an important role in pain management. Plans to start a Phase I trial of a small molecule antagonist of the human TRPA1 ion channel that resulted from the pact with Cubist were announced in January of 2012.