Treatment of Inflammatory and Autoimmune Diseases
8 Jan 2003Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has entered into a collaboration with Biogen, Inc. to discover oral therapeutics for the treatment of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.
The collaboration will apply Sunesis' proprietary fragment- based drug discovery technology, known as "Tethering," to generate small molecule leads that target select cytokines in the immune system. Under an exclusive worldwide license to compounds resulting from these efforts, Biogen will have the right to develop, manufacture and commercialize collaboration compounds. This collaboration includes four related cytokines and up to two additional targets. James Young, Ph.D., CEO of Sunesis, commented, " Biogen's considerable biological and therapeutic expertise combined with Sunesis' proprietary fragment-based discovery approach will be a powerful combination to advance this important program."
"There's a tremendous need for orally active therapeutics that address these high impact targets in the immune system," said Michael Gilman, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Research at Biogen. "They are tough targets for small molecules. But Sunesis' technology, coupled with Biogen's expertise in immunology and medicinal chemistry, provides us with a way to tackle them and the potential to deliver significant value to patients."
Sunesis' fragment-based technology platform reliably generates novel hits against challenging targets by identifying binding ligands that other techniques such as high-throughput screening are too insensitive to find. The basis for this approach is Tethering, a process in which the target selects fragments with binding affinity for a specific region on the target surface. By discovering drugs in pieces, Sunesis can effectively search a chemical diversity space equivalent to hundreds of millions of compounds.
Biogen is the world's oldest independent biotechnology company and a leader in biologics research, development and manufacturing. A pioneer in leading-edge research in immunology, neurobiology and oncology, Biogen brings novel therapies to improve patients' lives around the world through its global marketing capabilities.
Sunesis is a leading discovery-based pharmaceutical company that applies its breakthrough fragment-based technologies to create superior oral therapeutics for the most challenging and important disease targets.