Anti-cancer project originating from LDC reaches next milestone

Successful transfer into pre-clinical drug development at Bayer Pharma AG

September 20, 2012

The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) announces today that an innovative kinase inhibitor program licensed to Bayer Pharma AG, Germany (Bayer) last year, has reached an important transition milestone. Bayer has successfully advanced this kinase inhibitor program into pre-clinical development with the goal of eventually advancing this candidate into oncology clinical development. Protein kinases are key components of cellular signaling pathways that control tumor cell growth, metabolism and metastasis. They have therefore become prime targets for oncology drug discovery and clinical development.

According to the partners’ agreement, the LDC will receive a predefined payment upon the attainment of this milestone. Milestone payments to LDC may aggregate to 82.5 million Euros in development milestones and 55 million Euros in sales milestones. In addition, LDC is eligible to receive royalty payments on net sales of products once marketed.

LDC will share the revenues with its academic partners at the Westfälische Wilhelms-University of Münster, the Max Planck Institute for Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg as well as the Max Planck Foundation. In close collaboration with these partners, the LDC has initially discovered and developed the kinase inhibitors up to the stage of pharmaceutical leads according to industry standards.

“The LDC contributes to the decisive steps that enable a smooth transition of academic innovation into industrial drug development, as we are seeing now with Bayer”, Dr Bert Klebl, Managing Director of the LDC, points out. “The rapid achievement of this first milestone by our industry partner Bayer confirms our approach and the high quality of the kinase inhibitor lead structure program our teams and academic partners have delivered.” Dr Dieter Link, licensing manager at the LDC’s parent company Max Planck Innovation, adds: “The project has now cleared a hurdle at which well over 50% of academic projects fail. This is even more encouraging for us than the ‘mere’ closing of the licensing deal.”

About the Kinase Inhibitor Program

The licensed program belongs to a series of novel and highly selective kinase inhibitor compounds that have initially been developed by LDC in a project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) and the Max Planck Foundation. This project emerged from a collaboration of LDC with research groups from the Westfälische Wilhelms-University of Münster (Prof Dr Michael Meisterernst) and the Max-Planck-Institute for Immunobiology and Epigenetics in Freiburg (Dr Gerhard Mittler).

About Lead Discovery Center GmbH

The Lead Discovery Center (LDC), a spin-off company of Max Planck Innovation, was established a novel approach to capitalize on the potential of excellent basic research for the discovery of new therapies for diseases with high medical need.

With a world-class team of interdisciplinary scientists, drug discovery experts, pharmacologists and seasoned project managers, the LDC takes on promising early-stage projects from academia and transforms them into innovative pharmaceutical leads that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals.

In close collaboration with high-profile partners from academia and industry, the LDC is building a strong and further growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. In addition to the kinase inhibitor program licensed to Bayer Pharma AG, the LDC has established a diverse portfolio of highly innovative projects currently comprising over 15 small molecules at various stages of drug discovery. Target indications of these LDC molecules cover a broad range of diseases including cancer, inflammation, infection and metabolic, neurological or neurodegenerative diseases.

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About Max Planck Innovation

Max Planck Innovation (MI) is the technology transfer organization for the renowned Max-Planck-Society (MPG), Germany´s largest basic research organization and has established the LDC in 2008. MI markets patents and technologies to industry and advises scientists to establish new companies based on research results, emerging from the more than eighty different Max-Planck-Institutes spread throughout Germany.

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