X-Chem, a privately held biotechnology company based in Waltham, Mass., applying its drug discovery platform to the generation of novel small molecule therapeutics, has announced a multi-target collaboration with Janssen Biotech, one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson. The collaboration, which is being facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Boston, focuses on the discovery and development of candidate molecules for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.
X-Chem will apply its proprietary discovery engine, powered by a unique high diversity DNA-encoded small molecule library, to identify novel compounds targeting proteins involved in the inflammatory response. Janssen has an exclusive option to license the drug candidates generated in the course of the collaboration. X-Chem will receive an upfront payment, research funding and is eligible for milestone payments upon achievement of specified research, development and commercial milestones. In addition, X-Chem will receive royalty payments on the sale of products resulting from the collaboration.
“X-Chem’s vision is to leverage our powerful lead discovery engine to enable breakthroughs in disease areas with high unmet medical need,” said Rick Wagner, Ph.D., CEO of X-Chem. “As we continue to improve our platform’s performance, we seek to combine our discovery excellence with the extensive development and commercialization expertise of collaborators such as Janssen, and to help prime their pipeline with innovative products for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.”
Due to the size and diversity of the library, X-Chem can discover multiple series of novel, potent and selective lead compounds at an unprecedented rate of success against a wide range of targets, including some that previously failed using conventional screening methods. A number of proprietary innovations in library design, screening methodology and bioinformatics underlie the exceptional performance of the platform. In particular, X-Chem’s approach to library construction allows for additional chemical reactions to become useable in DNA-encoded library synthesis.
Together, these developments result in a much greater repertoire of diversity for small molecules, which cover a range of categories including fragment molecules, small molecular weight heterocyclic compounds and macrocyclic structures. This diverse library, combined with a heightened ability to detect active molecules, has yielded a robust process that has been highly successful against targets categorized as difficult or intractable.
In September, Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD), a global CRO, acquired all interests in X-Chem, while retaining the company’s management team and biotechnology business model.