Forma Therapeutics and Moffitt Cancer Center established a research collaboration and exclusive license option agreement focused on histone deacetylases (HDACs) and epigenetics. The initiative will focus on exploring mechanisms of action and differentiation profiles of potential therapeutic drug candidates and aims to provide insights for treating relevant patients with HDAC modulators.

The framework for this epigenetics alliance includes explorations into targets and other emerging epigenetic mechanisms through “Moffitt Innovative Studies.” Forma said this strategic directive provides Moffitt researchers with the opportunity to identify new areas in the epigenetics arena managed via an internal peer-review process.

According to Forma, the partnership will provide access to in vitro and in vivo biological systems, as well as anonymized patient samples for functional profiling. The team will explore identification and characterization of non-histone HDAC substrates to fully understand the role of selective HDAC inhibitors on immune and cancer cell function and to evaluate bioactivity in applicable disease models.

“Our relationship with Moffitt provides the opportunity to significantly accelerate understanding of the clinical application for highly selective histone deacetylase modulators, enzymes involved in histone acetylation and transcriptional regulation, as well as other key epigenetic and immune control factors,” said Kenneth W. Bair, Ph.D., CSO and head of R&D at Forma. “This unique opportunity to probe the pathophysiological contributions of target-selective compounds across related molecular pathways in a disease-relevant setting will guide our creation of breakthrough drugs.”

The alliance will be co-led at Moffitt by Ed Seto, Ph.D., senior member, department of molecular oncology, and Eduardo M. Sotomayor, M.D., Susan and John Sykes endowed chair in hematologic malignancies, senior member and chair, department of malignant hematology.

“This team validates the molecular signatures in tumors to support the development of personalized therapeutics,” said Steven Tregay, Ph.D., president and CEO of Forma. “Our collaboration with Moffitt enables us to efficiently match our drugs to the right patients and realize a precision medicine approach to cancer drug development.”

Forma recently entered a multiyear strategic partnership with Paradigm to identify predictive response markers and measure pharmacodynamic activity for two of its advanced preclinical candidates.

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