Gilead Sciences will partner with Polyphor to discover and develop macrocycle drugs against unspecified “challenging biological” targets to be selected by Gilead, Polyphor said today.

Polyphor said the collaboration will use its macrocycle platform, which is designed to generate macroycles sized between small molecules and biopharmaceuticals, while combining the advantages of both.

In the collaboration’s first phase, Polyphor said it will apply its entire macrocycle platform consisting of nonpeptidic macrocyles (MacroFinder®), peptidic macrocycles (PEMfinder®), and phage display of protein epitope mimetics (PEM)-like molecules (PEMphage®) to generate tractable macrocycle hit families for further optimization.

The MacroFinder® and PEMfinder® technologies are specifically developed for discovering potent and selective modulators of protein–protein interactions (PPIs) and other challenging targets that according to Polyphor are not addressed by traditional small-molecule drugs.

The value of the collaboration was not disclosed, though Polyphor said it will receive an upfront payment, research funding, and potentially additional payments tied to achieving milestones under a collaboration and licensing agreement signed by the companies.

Gilead is among several drug developers to partner with Polyphor; others include Boehringer Ingelheim, Novartis, Taisho, and Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics.

“Partnerships with biopharmaceutical companies are a key element of our strategy to realize the full potential of this novel drug class, while focusing our own R&D activities on novel antibiotics and rare respiratory diseases,” Polyphor CSO Daniel Obrecht, Ph.D., said in a statement.

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