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A partnership with some pep(tides)
TOKYO—PeptiDream Inc. and global pharmaceutical company Ipsen have joined forces in a research collaboration and license option agreement for the discovery, evaluation and potential development of therapeutic peptides to treat serious medical conditions in areas of interest to Ipsen.
Per the terms of the agreement, Ipsen will make an upfront payment to PeptiDream as well as paying research and development and commercialization costs, for which it will receive worldwide rights to the peptides that result from the partnership. PeptiDream will receive royalties on worldwide sales, or have the right to opt-in at predefined stages to support Japan development costs, which would grant it royalty-free commercial rights for that territory. Should PeptiDream exercise that option, it will forego royalty income for ex- Japan sales. Specific financial details were not released.
Dr. Patrick Reid, chief scientific officer and head of PeptiDream's discovery programs, identifies this agreement as the first time the companies have worked together, noting that Ipsen approached them regarding a possible partnership due to Ipsen's interest in the merits of PeptiDream's peptide discovery platform and in shifting towards a peptide focus themselves.
"Ipsen and PeptiDream now enter into a research collaboration to discover novel highly selective peptides targeting specific serious disease using the synergies of skills and competencies between both companies," Dr. Claude Bertrand, executive vice president of R&D and chief scientific officer at Ipsen, commented in a statement. "We believe the Ipsen- PeptiDream agreement implements our philosophy to apply innovation for future patient care."
Under the agreement, Reid says that PeptiDream will be responsible for utilizing its technology for the identification of novel nonstandard macrocyclic peptides against targets from Ipsen. Both companies will have a hand in characterizing the candidates and lead optimization, as "both companies have different talents that we bring to the collaboration that are actually very synergistic."
He notes that the companies are well matched given their similar interests in peptides, and yet they have "two very different skill sets that we bring to the table, and the combination is far stronger than either of us by ourselves." Ipsen brings with it experience in final optimization, delivery and getting a drug to market, while PeptiDream, he says, has become a world leader in identifying macrocyclic peptides with promising drug properties.
PeptiDream's peptide library, generated from its peptide discovery platform system, distinguishes itself from others thanks to the "number and variation of nonstandard macrocyclic libraries we can make and screen in parallel in a very short period of time," says Reid. He explains that the company can create cyclic peptides from 5mers to 30mers, as well as helical stabilized peptides, and by creating and comparing several libraries of peptides against a target, they can "identify thousands of new pharmacophores against a target in a month." Most importantly, Reid notes, PeptiDream has engineered a way to screen hits without having to chemically synthesize them, allowing for greater speed and the ability to assay peptides for "target binding, selectivity, inhibition activity and more recently, membrane permeability and stability."
This agreement with Ipsen, Reid says, "fits into a new development arm of building a closer partnership/co-development relationship with a mid-size company, where hopefully we tie ourselves together well and take full advantage of our mutual talents and expertise."
"This also goes in hand with our own internal [drug development] efforts, and those are now approaching levels where we are looking to advance past animal models and hopefully get something into clinical trials, and therefore any experience or know-how we can gain from these various partners to turn around and incorporate into our own in-house drug development is critical and should make the process far smoother. The future is very bright for us, and it is for macrocyclic nonstandard peptide therapeutics. I have no doubt that peptides will be the therapeutic class of the future as far as drugs," Reid concludes.