Carmot Therapeutics announced today a new and expanded drug discovery collaboration and licensing program with Amgen (Nasdaq: AMGN) to discover and advance novel drug leads intended for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and other selected disease areas. Carmot and Amgen will work together to select therapeutic targets and identify drug candidates, while Amgen will be solely responsible for clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization activities of any resulting molecules. The agreement builds on the strategic collaborative relationship that began in 2014.
Carmot calls its approach Chemotype Evolution, a proprietary technology that dramatically expands the repertoire of chemical diversity for drug discovery according to the company. The approach is iterative, whereby a known target-binding molecule (the bait) is first reacted with a proprietary fragment collection to generate a library of target-directed compounds. This process is sequentially iterated to generate novel candidates from an existing molecule.
Hits identified from a first iteration screen can be fed into a medicinal chemistry program or converted into new baits (Bait B, center left in Figure) and used in a second iteration screen to identify more potent molecules. Alternatively, fragment hits can be repurposed as baits (Bait C) to identify fragments that replace the initial anchor molecule. This process can be repeated multiple times if desired.
Source: Carmot Therapeutics
Under the terms of the expanded agreement, Amgen can select multiple targets to pursue, and Carmot will receive an upfront payment and research support. Carmot is also eligible to receive milestone payments based on achievement of pre-clinical, clinical, and commercialization milestones potentially worth more than $240 million. In addition, Carmot is eligible to receive royalties on the net sales of products resulting from the collaboration.
Over the past few years, we have greatly expanded the capabilities of Chemotype Evolution to better address unmet chemical needs in drug discovery. Our relationship with Amgen started in 2014 with our first discovery collaboration that was extended in 2016. We are delighted to announce a new and expanded collaboration with Amgen to discover drug candidates for challenging therapeutic targets. Working with Amgen, we will be able to more fully leverage the capabilities of Chemotype Evolution to identify novel drug candidates for the benefit of patients.
– Stig K. Hansen, Carmot’s CEO.
Discovering new medicines to treat debilitating neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s is a key area of focus for our Neuroscience research team. We’re excited to expand Amgen’s relationship with Carmot to leverage its unique small molecule capabilities to address targets that traditionally have been very difficult to drug.
– John Dunlop, vice president, Neuroscience Research at Amgen.
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