APEIRON Biologics AG, an Austrian company focused on cancer immunotherapy, today announced a collaboration agreement with the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), a translational research organization established in 2008 by Max Planck Innovation, to develop novel immune checkpoint modulators. The two companies will perform drug discovery activities to optimize and develop novel small molecules addressing immune checkpoints, important gatekeepers in cancer immunity. All molecules deriving from this collaboration are proprietary to APEIRON and will strengthen APEIRON's development pipeline.
Peter Llewellyn-Davies, Chief Executive Officer of APEIRON Biologics, said: "We are delighted to announce this alliance with LDC. APEIRON has an excellent and broad pipeline being pursued to develop therapies both aiming at targeting tumor cells and stimulating the immune system to fight cancer. With its track record in pharmaceutical drug discovery and long-standing small molecule expertise, the LDC is the ideal partner for us to identify new drug candidates and to further accelerate the development of new immune checkpoint modulators. I am confident our combined R&D forces will drive our technology in the field of immune-oncology forward and strengthen our product candidate portfolio in small molecules."
The LDC will use its expertise in small molecule drug discovery to design and optimize new substances, which can activate immune cells and drive their anti-tumor activity. The medicinal chemistry efforts are based on a new substance class, which was identified by phenotypic screening, discovered in APEIRON's cooperation with Evotec AG, and has shown to activate peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The intellectual property generated under the terms of the agreement solely belongs to APEIRON. The LDC will receive research funding during the collaboration period and is eligible to an upfront payment, milestone payments and royalties. Further financial details of the collaboration agreement were not disclosed.
The work will be carried out at both APEIRON's R&D facilities in Vienna, Austria, and in the LDC laboratories in Dortmund, Germany. APEIRON will be responsible for further preclinical and clinical development of the product candidates, as well as subsequent marketing and commercialization.
About the LDC
The Lead Discovery Center (LDC) was established in 2008 by the technology transfer organization Max Planck Innovation, as a novel approach to capitalize on the potential of excellent basic research for the discovery of new therapies for diseases with high medical need. 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 growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. The LDC sustains a strong partnership with the Max Planck Society and has performed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi-Sankyo, Qurient, Johnson&Johnson Innovation, Sotio, Gruenenthal and Roche, as well as leading translational drug discovery centres around the globe. Further information is available at www.lead-discovery.de.
About APEIRON Biologics AG
APEIRON is a privately-held commercial-stage biopharmaceutical company based in Vienna, Austria, focused on the discovery, development and commercialization of novel cancer immunotherapies. The company is leveraging its innovative therapeutic targets based on tumor-specific targeted approaches and the stimulation of the immune system via novel and proprietary unique mechanisms of action (checkpoint blockade) to eradicate cancer by engaging the human body's natural defense mechanisms. For additional information please visit www.apeiron-biologics.com and follow us on Twitter @apeironbio.