Press releases

Monday March 22nd, 2021
LDC, Novo Nordisk, and Heidelberg University Hospital to Collaborate on New Treatment for Heart Failure
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LDC, Novo Nordisk, and Heidelberg University Hospital to Collaborate on New Treatment for Heart Failure

Dortmund, Germany– March 22nd, 2021 –The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) announces today that they have entered into a collaboration with Heidelberg University Hospital and Novo Nordisk to develop a new therapy against heart failure.

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Cardiac Ca2+/Calmodulin-dependent Kinase II (CaMKII) plays a central role in maladaptive processes in the diseased heart. The partners aim to develop a new class of CaMKII modulators by using an innovative strategy, expected to block the aberrant effects of CaMKII while preserving physiological CaMKII functions.

The approach was discovered and validated by Prof. Johannes Backs and his team at the Heidelberg University Hospital, and further advanced together with the LDC. During this phase, Prof. Backs´ research was supported by the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK) with a programme that promotes the translation of approaches from basic research into clinical application. In their year of collaboration, the partners succeeded in generating a range of promising hit compounds.

“It is a great pleasure for us to continue working with the excellent team around Prof. Backs and to welcome Novo Nordisk on board for the second phase of our collaboration, focusing on hit-to-lead development. We very much appreciate their early involvement and look forward to their input which will be extremely valuable in guiding project progress”, says Bert Klebl, CEO & CSO of the LDC. “Heart failure is one of the most prevalent and deadly diagnoses upon hospital admission, and despite therapeutic progress we still see high rates of mortality and morbidity”, adds Prof. Johannes Backs. “Our approach has the potential to offer a new, effective and safe treatment, and we are thrilled to be working with the LDC and Novo Nordisk to advance it towards application”.

“We are very excited to enter this collaboration leveraging on decades of research supporting CaMKII as a target in heart failure. This is a unique opportunity to enter a partnership with deep biological understanding and excellent technical skills aiming at discovering novel treatments for patients living with heart failure. This in addition, supports the ambition of Novo Nordisk to deliver disease modifying treatments for patients suffering from this condition”, says Karin Conde-Knape,
SVP of Global Drug Discovery at Novo Nordisk.

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>> Contact
PR Lead Discovery Center
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pr@lead-discovery.de
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About LDC
Lead Discovery Center GmbH (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 and antibodies that reach robust 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 drug candidate compounds with exceptional medical and commercial potential. The LDC has formed alliances with e.g. AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient, and sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society and KHAN-I GmbH & Co.KG. In addition, LDC also works with leading translational drug discovery centers and with various investors to provide its assets for company creation.
For more information, please visit: www.lead-discovery.de

Monday March 22nd, 2021
LDC and Cumulus Oncology Announce Collaboration
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LDC and Cumulus Oncology Announce Collaboration

Dortmund, Germany, and Edinburgh, Scotland, March 22nd, 2021. The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and Cumulus Oncology announce the signing of a collaboration agreement enabling the two organisations to accelerate the discovery and development of novel oncology therapies.

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The collaboration builds on the complementary expertise of both organisations. LDC contributes a proven track record in drug discovery and a team of scientists with the expertise and the deep insights necessary to develop assets modulating a range of oncology targets derived from its large academic network. Cumulus Oncology brings a team of successful life science entrepreneurs with a recognised track record in translational oncology drug development, as well as oncologists, scientists and pharma sector business professionals.

This collaboration is based around the reciprocal contribution of each group and the motivation to develop a growing portfolio of small molecule and biological assets with exceptional medical and commercial potential. Each party provides targets and assets in the oncology area for collaboration and potential future company co-creation as well as bringing a wider access to funding partners and collaborators globally.

“We anticipate that joining forces with Cumulus Oncology will leverage early-stage novel oncology approaches from our research networks, turning these early-stage assets into true innovations in cancer research and therapies”, stated Bert Klebl, CEO and CSO of the LDC. “This strategic partnership with one of the leading drug discovery centres in Europe provides a unique opportunity for Cumulus Oncology to fuel its pipeline of next generation novel oncology assets” said Alan Wise, Chairman of Cumulus Oncology.
“We are very much looking forward to working with our colleagues at LDC to the mutual benefit of both our organisations and ultimately to the benefit of the cancer research community, most especially, the patients dealing with a cancer diagnosis” added Clare Wareing, Founder and CEO of Cumulus Oncology.

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> Contact
PR Lead Discovery Center
+49 (0)231-97 42 70 00
pr@lead-discovery.de
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About Cumulus Oncology
Founded in 2017, Cumulus sources novel oncology assets from academic institutes, commercial drug discovery groups and biopharmaceutical companies. The company also identifies novel targets for drug discovery programmes which it supports and collaborates on. Following rigorous due diligence and market assessment activities, negotiations on deal terms and in-depth feasibility on the investment case, selected assets are spun out into newly created companies. These NewCos are managed to key value inflection points by Cumulus which also takes responsibility for further investment into each Newco via its network of VC partners. The founding team consists of successful life science entrepreneurs, oncologists, scientists and other oncology drug development and pharma sector business professionals. Asset classes of interest include small molecules and biologics which target known and novel pathways in cancer, where there is a clear path forward into clinical development, often in molecularly selected sub-groups.
For more information, please visit: www.cumulusoncology.com

About LDC
Lead Discovery Center GmbH (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 and antibodies that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals as well as candidate nomination. In close> collaboration with high-profile partners from research and industry, the LDC is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule and antibody leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. The LDC sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society, KHAN-I GmbH & Co.KG and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Apeiron, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient, e.g. In addition, LDC also works with leading translational drug discovery centers and with various investors to provide its assets for company creation.
For more information, please visit: www.lead-discovery.de

Wednesday January 27th, 2021
First Patient Dosed in Phase 1 Study with Novel Anti-cancer Immunotherapy Q702
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First Patient Dosed in Phase 1 Study with Novel Anti-cancer Immunotherapy Q702

Dortmund, Germany, Jan 27th, 2021 – The LDC’s long-term strategic
partner Qurient has dosed the first patient in a Phase 1 clinical study of
Q702 involving patients with advanced solid tumors at multiple sites in
the US.

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Q702 is an orally available triple kinase inhibitor targeting Axl, Mer and CSF1R. It was discovered at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and further developed at the LDC, before it was licensed to Qurient for further optimization and preclinical and clinical development. The candidate was shown to boost immune cells in the tumor microenvironment and to raise tumor visibility to the immune system. It may provide new options to patients for whom available therapies are ineffective.

For the original press releases, see:

Qurient’s latest press release from January 26th, 2021
Qurient’s and LDC’s press release on IND approval from May 2020

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>> Contact
PR Lead Discovery Center
+49 (0)231-97 42 70 00
pr@lead-discovery.de
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About Qurient
Qurient is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company listed in Korea Exchange (KRX 115180). Qurient mainly focuses on development of novel therapeutics from discovery to human proof of concept stages through virtual R&D project management platform. Qurient currently has three programs in clinical development: Q301, a topical leukotriene inhibitor for atopic dermatitis, completed Phase 2b study; telacebec (Q203), a first-in-class orally available cytochrome bc1 inhibitor for tuberculosis, completed Phase 2 study; and Q702, entering Phase 1/2 study. Qurient recently nominated Q901, a selective CDK7 inhibitor, as a preclinical candidate for solid tumors, which is expected to enter the clinic in 2021. For more info, please visit www.qurient.com.

About LDC
Lead Discovery Center GmbH 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 Lead Discovery Center takes on promising early-stage projects from academia and transforms them into innovative pharmaceutical leads and antibodies that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals. In close collaboration with high-profile partners from academia and industry, the Lead Discovery Center is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. The Lead Discovery Center sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society, KHAN-I GmbH & Co.KG and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient, e.g. In addition,LDC also works with leading translational drug discovery centers and with various investors to provide its assets for company creation. Further information at: www.lead-discovery.de.

About Max Planck Innovation
Max Planck Innovation (MI) is responsible for the technology transfer of the Max Planck Society and, as such, the link between industry and basic research. With an interdisciplinary team, MI advises and supports scientists at Max Planck Institutes in evaluating their inventions, filing patents and founding companies. MI offers industry unique access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. Thus, MI performs an important task: the transfer of basic research results into products that contribute to economic and social progress. Further information at: www.max-planck-innovation.com.

Tuesday June 16th, 2020
LDC and Qurient Launch Start-up QLi5 Therapeutics in Dortmund, Germany
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LDC and Qurient Launch Start-up QLi5 Therapeutics in Dortmund, Germany

Dortmund, Germany, June 16th, 2020 — The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and the South Korean drug development specialist Qurient have founded QLi5 Therapeutics GmbH, together with their partners, the Max Planck Society (MPG) and Nobel laureate Prof. Huber, emeritus director of the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry. Dortmund based QLi5 Therapeutics licensed novel proteasome inhibitors from LDC and its partners. QLi5 Therapeutics will advance these towards preclinical and clinical development for the treatment of cancers as well as inflammatory and autoimmune disorders.

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The novel proteasome inhibitors were generated within a long standing and successful collaboration between the LDC and Prof. Huber. Combining Prof. Huber’s vast expertise in the field of proteasome with the LDC’s drug discovery capabilities, the partners have created a portfolio of proteasome inhibitors with unique binding characteristics and favourable pharmacodynamic properties. The further development in the joint venture with Qurient is the outcome of a successful strategic partnership between Qurient, LDC and Max Planck.

“The proteasome is a real treasure chest,” Prof. Huber comments, “and the launch of Qli5 Therapeutics enables us to harness its potential for the treatment of many diseases. Our new generation of proteasome inhibitors is set to overcome key challenges that have so far hampered a broader application of the first generation of covalently acting proteasome inhibitors.” The proteasome plays an important role in cell regulation by degrading proteins and represents a well established clinical target for the treatment of liquid tumours, in particular multiple myeloma.

“We believe the LDC’s innovative proteasome inhibitors hold exceptional potential, and we are excited to be part of QLi5 Therapeutics to jointly advance them towards preclinical and clinical testing,” Kiyean Nam, CEO and CSO of Qurient adds. “We very much appreciate the LDC as long-term partner and prime source of external innovation.” Over the last years, Qurient has licensed two other inhibitor projects from the LDC, targeting the kinases, Axl and CDK7 respectively. Both leads have made considerable progress since, e.g. nomination for clinical development.

“The foundation of Qli5 Therapeutics is the current peak of our trustful and long-term collaborations with Prof. Huber and Qurient, our exceptionally strong and committed South Korean partner,” Bert Klebl, CEO and CSO of the LDC comments. “This joint venture is a wonderful step forward in our mutual relationship and it is a great opportunity to translate the potential of the proteasome complex into more tangible benefits for patients.”

“Having previously licensed assets to Qurient, we are delighted to now jointly start-up a venture with Qurient. QLi5 provides excellent prospects to enable a much needed next generation of proteasome inhibitors. Bringing the company on track together with Qurient has been a swift and smooth endeavour”, adds Dieter Link, Licensing Manager at Max Planck Innovation GmbH.

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>> Contact
PR Lead Discovery Center
+49 (0)231-97 42 70 00
pr@lead-discovery.de

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About Qurient
Qurient is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company listed in Korea Exchange (KRX 115180). Qurient mainly focuses on development of novel therapeutics from discovery to human proof of concept stages through virtual R&D project management platform. Qurient currently has three programs in clinical development: Q301, a topical leukotriene inhibitor for atopic dermatitis, completed Phase 2b study; telacebec (Q203), a first-in-class orally available cytochrome bc1 inhibitor for tuberculosis, completed Phase 2 study; and Q702, entering Phase 1/2 study under US FDA. Qurient recently nominated Q901, a selective CDK7 inhibitor, as a preclinical candidate for solid tumors, which is expected to enter the clinic in 2021.
Further information: www.qurient.com

About LDC
The Lead Discovery Center 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 Lead Discovery Center takes on promising early-stage projects from academia and transforms them into innovative pharmaceutical leads and antibodies that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals. In close collaboration with high-profile partners from academia and industry, the Lead Discovery Center is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential.
The Lead Discovery Center sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society and KHAN-I technology transfer GmbH & Co.KG. LDC has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient and Sotio as well as leading translational drug discovery centers. More recently, LDC and KHAN-I are transferring their assets also into spin-outs for syndication with other investors.
Further information: www.lead-discovery.de

About Max Planck Innovation
Max Planck Innovation (MI) is responsible for the technology transfer of the Max Planck Society and, as such, the link between industry and basic research. With an interdisciplinary, team MI advises and supports scientists at Max Planck Institutes in evaluating their inventions, filing patents and founding companies. MI offers industry unique access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. Thus, MI performs an important task: the transfer of basic research results into products that contribute to economic and social progress.
Further information: www.max-planck-innovation.com

Tuesday June 16th, 2020
LDC und Qurient bringen Start-up QLi5 Therapeutics in Dortmund auf den Weg
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LDC und Qurient bringen Start-up QLi5 Therapeutics in Dortmund auf den Weg

Dortmund, 16. Juni 2020 – Die Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) und der südkoreanische Arzneimittel-Entwickler Qurient haben in enger Kooperation mit weiteren Partnern die QLi5 Therapeutics GmbH gegründet. Die Partner sind die Max-Planck-Gesellschaft (MPG) und der Nobelpreisträger Prof. Huber, emeritierter Direktor des Max-Planck-Instituts für Biochemie. Die in Dortmund ansässige QLi5 Therapeutics hat neue Proteasom-Inhibitoren vom LDC und seinen Partnern lizenziert, um sie in die präklinische und klinische Prüfung voranzubringen und für die Behandlung von Krebs-, Entzündungs- und Autoimmunerkrankungen zu entwickeln.

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Die Proteasom-Inhibitoren wurden im Rahmen einer langfristigen erfolgreichen Kooperation von LDC und Prof. Huber entwickelt, wobei Prof. Huber seine führende Expertise auf dem Gebiet des Proteasoms eingebracht hat und das LDC seine besondere Kompetenz im Bereich Wirkstoffentwicklung. Gemeinsam haben sie ein Portfolio an Proteasom-Inhibitoren mit einzigartigen Bindungseigenschaften und günstigen pharmakodynamischen Eigenschaften etabliert. Durch die erfolgreiche, strategische Zusammenarbeit von LDC, Qurient und MPG ist es dann gelungen, ein Joint Venture mit Qurient zur Weiterentwicklung dieses Ansatzes aufzubauen.

„Das Proteasom ist eine wahre Schatztruhe”, so Prof. Huber, „und der Start von QLi5 Therapeutics erlaubt es uns, sein Potenzial zur Behandlung vielfältiger Krankheiten auszuschöpfen. Unsere neuen Proteasom-Inhibitoren haben beste Aussichten, die Schwierigkeiten der ersten Generation kovalent bindender Proteasom-Inhibitoren zu überwinden, die eine breitere Anwendung des Ansatzes bislang behindert haben.” Das Proteasom spielt eine wichtige Rolle in der Zellregulation, indem es Proteine abbaut. Als Zielstruktur zur Behandlung flüssiger Tumore ist es klinisch gut etabliert, insbesondere beim Multiplen Myelom.

„Wir sind vom Potenzial der innovativen Proteasom-Inhibitoren aus dem LDC überzeugt und freuen uns, diese im Team mit QLi5 in die präklinische und klinische Prüfung voranzubringen“, ergänzt Kiyean Nam, CEO und CSO von Qurient. „Wir schätzen das LDC als langfristigen Partner und wichtige Quelle von Innovation.“ Im Laufe der vergangenen Jahre hat Qurient zwei weitere Projekte vom LDC lizenziert, welche auf die Entwicklung von Kinaseinhibitoren abzielen. Beide Projekte haben seitdem deutliche Fortschritte gemacht, z.B. bis hin zu einer Nominierung für die klinische Entwicklung.

„Die Gründung von Qli5 Therapeutics ist der Höhepunkt einer vertrauensvollen, langfristigen Kooperation mit Prof. Huber und Qurient, unserem außergewöhnlich leistungsfähigen und engagierten Partner in Südkorea”, meint Bert Klebl, Geschäftsführer und wissenschaftlicher Direktor des LDC. „Dieses Joint Venture ist ein großartiger Schritt vorwärts in unserer Beziehung und eine wertvolle Chance, das Potenzial des Proteasoms in praktischen Nutzen für Patienten zu übertragen.“

„Nachdem wir bereits Projekte an Qurient lizenziert haben, freuen wir uns jetzt sehr, gemeinsam ein Unternehmen auf den Weg zu bringen. QLi5 hat beste Chancen, die dringend benötigte nächste Generation an Proteasom-Inhibitoren zu realisieren. Die gemeinsame Gründung von Qurient lief sehr zügig und konstruktiv“, so Dieter Link, Lizenzmanager bei Max-Planck-Innovation.

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>> Kontakt
PR Lead Discovery Center
+49 (0)231-97 42 70 00
pr@lead-discovery.de

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Über Lead Discovery Center GmbH
Die Lead Discovery Center GmbH wurde 2008 von der Technologietransfer-Organisation Max-Planck-Innovation gegründet, um das Potenzial exzellenter Grundlagenforschung für die Entwicklung neuer, dringend benötigter Medikamente besser zu nutzen. Das Lead Discovery Center nimmt vielversprechende Projekte aus der akademischen Forschung auf und entwickelt sie typischerweise weiter bis zu pharmazeutischen Leitstrukturen („Proof-of-Concept“) in Modellsystemen. In enger Zusammenarbeit mit führenden Partnern aus der akademischen Forschung und der Industrie entwickelt das Lead Discovery Center ein umfangreiches Portfolio an Projekten im Bereich niedermolekularer Wirkstoffe sowie therapeutische Antikörper mit außergewöhnlich hohem medizinischem und kommerziellem Potenzial. Das Lead Discovery Center ist der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft langfristig verbunden und arbeitet mit Partnern wie AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Daiichi Sankyo, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Merck KGaA, Qurient, Roche, Sotio, verschiedenen Investoren sowie mit führenden Zentren für Wirkstoffforschung weltweit zusammen.
Weitere Informationen: www.lead-discovery.de

 
Über Max-Planck-Innovation
Als Technologietransfer-Organisation der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft ist Max-Planck-Innovation das Bindeglied zwischen Industrie und Grundlagenforschung. Mit unserem interdisziplinären Team beraten und unterstützen wir die Wissenschaftlerinnen und Wissenschaftler der Max-Planck-Institute bei der Bewertung von Erfindungen, der Anmeldung von Patenten sowie der Gründung von Unternehmen. Der Industrie bieten wir einen zentralen Zugang zu den Innovationen der Max-Planck-Institute. Damit erfüllen wir eine wichtige Aufgabe: Den Transfer von Ergebnissen der Grundlagenforschung in wirtschaftlich und gesellschaftlich nützliche Produkte.
Weitere Informationen: www.max-planck-innovation.de

Über Qurient
Qurient ist ein biopharmazeutisches Unternehmen, das an der koreanischen Börse notiert ist (KRX 115180). Mit Hilfe einer virtuellen R&D Projektmanagement-Plattform entwickelt Qurient neue Therapeutika von der Entdeckung bis zum Proof-of-Concept beim Menschen. Qurient hat aktuell drei Programme in der klinischen Entwicklung: Q301, ein topischer Leukotrien-Inhibitor zur Behandlung atopischer Dermatitis (Phase 2b abgeschlossen); Telacebec (Q203), ein innovativer, oral verfügbarer Cytochrom-bc1-Inhibitor zur Behandlung von Tuberkulose (Phase 2 abgeschlossen); und Q702 (zur Phase 1/2 zugelassen durch die FDA). Qurient hat kürzlich Q901, einen selektiven CDK7-Inhibitor, als präklinischen Kandidaten für solide Tumore nominiert. Start der klinischen Prüfungen ist voraussichtlich 2021.
Weitere Informationen: www.qurient.com

Tuesday May 26th, 2020
Qurient Announces U.S. FDA Clearance of IND Application for Q702, a Novel Cancer Immunotherapy
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Qurient Announces U.S. FDA Clearance of IND Application for Q702, a Novel Cancer Immunotherapy

Phase 1 clinical study in patients with advanced solid tumor expected to start in 3Q20

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Seongnam-si, Korea, and Dortmund, Germany, May 26, 2020 — Qurient Co. Ltd. (KRX: 115180), a clinical stage biotech company in Korea, today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cleared its investigational new drug (IND) application for Q702, orally available immuno-oncology therapeutic small molecule targeting Axl, Mer and CSF1 receptor tyrosine kinases.
 
Under this IND, Qurient plans to initiate a Phase 1 clinical study in patients with advanced solid tumors for whom standard of care therapies are currently ineffective. The Phase 1 study is expected to begin in 3Q2020 and is designed to evaluate the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and preliminary anti-tumor activity of Q702. The study will be conducted at multiple clinical centers in the United States.
 
“IND clearance for Q702 is an important milestone presenting a novel drug candidate that not only boosts immune cells in the tumor microenvironment but also makes tumor cells more visible to the immune system,” said Kiyean Nam, Ph.D., CEO of Qurient. “We believe Q702 may have an important role in the cancer immunotherapy, improving clinical responses in patients who are unresponsive and/or refractory to currently available immunotherapy.”
 
Q702 is an orally available, selective Axl/Mer/CSF1R triple kinase inhibitor showing significant in vivo activity as monotherapy as well as in combination with anti-PD-1 antibody. Q702 not only modulates innate immune components such as myeloid derived suppressor cell (MDSC), tumor associated macrophage (TAM) in tumor micro-environment (TME), but also increases MHC I expression in tumor cell.
 
The Axl inhibitor program was licensed from Lead Discovery Center (LDC) and the Max Planck Society at lead stage and further optimized by Qurient. The research program initially originated from Professor Axel Ullrich’s laboratory from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried/Germany.
 
“We are excited to see the progress in this project and are looking forward to the application in humans in the near future. With Qurient, we have identified an ideal partner for this project and we are more than happy about the results of our strategic partnership with them,” said Matthias Stein-Gerlach, Senior Patent and Licensing Manager at Max Planck Innovation GmbH.
 
”Reaching a clinical candidate for development is one of the most important milestones in our partnerships,” adds Bert Klebl, CEO and CSO of the LDC. “Starting an early-stage collaboration with Ullrich’s lab from Max Planck, leading to a licensing agreement with Qurient, we jointly mastered the pharmaceutical research phase and are now very eager to receive the results from this drug candidate in patients. Starting with this program, we have since built a sustainable and strong partnership with our partner Qurient, focusing on the translation of innovative biology and drug discovery programs from LDC’s academic network.”

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>> Contact
PR Lead Discovery Center
+49 (0)231-97 42 70 00
pr@lead-discovery.de

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About Qurient
 Qurient is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company listed in Korea Exchange (KRX 115180). Qurient mainly focuses on development of novel therapeutics from discovery to human proof of concept stages through virtual R&D project management platform. Qurient currently has three programs in clinical development: Q301, a topical leukotriene inhibitor for atopic dermatitis, completed Phase 2b study; telacebec (Q203), a first-in-class orally available cytochrome bc1 inhibitor for tuberculosis, completed Phase 2 study; and Q702, entering Phase 1/2 study. Qurient recently nominated Q901, a selective CDK7 inhibitor, as a preclinical candidate for solid tumors, which is expected to enter the clinic in 2021. For more info, please visit www.qurient.com.
 
About LDC
Lead Discovery Center GmbH 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 Lead Discovery Center takes on promising early-stage projects from academia and transforms them into innovative pharmaceutical leads and antibodies that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals. In close collaboration with high-profile partners from academia and industry, the Lead Discovery Center is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. The Lead Discovery Center sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society, KHAN-I GmbH & Co.KG and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient,  and Sotio, e.g.In addition, LDC also works with leading translational drug discovery centers and with various investors to provide its assets for company creation. Further information at: www.lead-discovery.de.
 
About Max Planck Innovation
Max Planck Innovation (MI) is responsible for the technology transfer of the Max Planck Society and, as such, the link between industry and basic research. With an interdisciplinary team, MI advises and supports scientists at Max Planck Institutes in evaluating their inventions, filing patents and founding companies. MI offers industry unique access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. Thus, MI performs an important task: the transfer of basic research results into products that contribute to economic and social progress. Further information at: www.max-planck-innovation.com.

Wednesday May 13th, 2020
Corona: Vaccination Without Needle?
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Corona: Vaccination Without Needle?

Scientists are developing a procedure whereby vaccines can be absorbed through the skin.

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Potsdam and Dortmund, Germany, May 13, 2020 — The Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam and the Technology Transfer Fund KHAN-I are developing a vaccine procedure for SARS-CoV2 together with the Lead Discovery Center in Dortmund. The researchers hope that within the next few years, they will be able to establish immunity to and protection from the virus using targeted vaccine transport via the skin.

SARS-CoV2 has already infected more than 3.6 million people worldwide, and is responsible for over 250.000 deaths. The number of unreported cases is estimated to be significantly higher. The pandemic is affecting the everyday life of billions of people, with long-term severe consequences for the global economy and health systems. Industry and academia are currently applying many different approaches to the rapid development of effective, sustained immunization in order to avoid the drastic measures required to prevent the spread of such diseases.
 
Vaccines are the only possibility for defeating an infectious agent in the long term. In the case of SARS-CoV2, novel vaccine technologies that can quickly be adapted to new viruses are being pushed, particularly those based on the application of nucleic acids or the use of adenovirus vectors. Nearly all these technologies involve the injection of the vaccine into the patient’s muscle.
 
Targeted activation of Langerhans cells
The concentration of immune cells is, however, higher in the skin than in muscle. So-called Langerhans cells are also present in the skin, and these activate and coordinate the body’s antiviral response [1].
 
Christoph Rademacher’s research group at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces has developed a new platform technology that specifically addresses Langerhans cells: the Langerhans Cell Targeted Delivery System (LC-TDS) [2, 3]. This system enables vaccines to be applied directly onto the skin or injected with microneedles, thereby using the immune system’s natural mechanisms. “We expect our system to be able to release all vaccines that use proteins, peptides or mRNA,” says Christoph Rademacher, Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces and main inventor of the new technology.
 
New platform technology allows efficient vaccine release
The central role in the LC-TDS is played by a highly specific chemical component that enables exclusive binding to Langerhans cells, where the efficient release of vaccine can then take place. By adapting existing LC-TDS technology to SARS-CoV2, researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces – with the help of the swiftly mobilized KHAN-I financing – now aim to develop a rapidly available vaccination procedure in cooperation with the LDC in Dortmund. “The KHAN-I financing marks the first step for LC-TDS technology on the road to future entrepreneurial independence as Cutanos GmbH, which we look forward to with high hopes for wide-ranging applications,” says Bert Klebl, CEO of KHAN-I, adding: “Further investors are welcome.”
 
“With the KHAN-I-funded collaboration between the LDC and the Max Planck Institute, extraordinarily competent partners have been brought together, and an excellent way has been found to quickly make this promising LC-TDS technology available for the development of a SARS-CoV2 vaccine,” adds Mareike Göritz, Patent & License Manager at the licensor and contractual partner Max Planck Innovation.
 
 
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>> Contact
PR Lead Discovery Center
+49 (0)231-97 42 70 00
pr@lead-discovery.de

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About the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces
The institute focuses on the exploration and control of very small and very thin structures in in the nanometer and micrometer ranges. These minute structures determine the properties of materials and biosystems. A deeper understanding is the key to numerous inventions, e.g. new vaccines, smart drug carriers and adaptive biomaterials. Future energy production and avoidance of CO2 emissions are further areas of research.
 
About KHAN-I
KHAN-I is a technology transfer fund founded at the end of 2019 and financed, among others, by the European Investment Fund, the Max Planck Foundation and the Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH. It invests in projects and start-ups developing innovative therapies.
 
About the Lead Discovery Center
The Lead Discovery Center 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 Lead Discovery Center takes on promising early-stage projects from academia and transforms them into innovative pharmaceutical leads and antibodies that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals. In close collaboration with high-profile partners from academia and industry, the Lead Discovery Center is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. Further information: www.lead-discovery.de
 
About Max Planck Innovation
Max Planck Innovation (MI) is responsible for the technology transfer of the Max Planck Society and, as such, the link between industry and basic research. With an interdisciplinary, team MI advises and supports scientists at Max Planck Institutes in evaluating their inventions, filing patents and founding companies. MI offers industry unique access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. Thus, MI performs an important task: the transfer of basic research results into products that contribute to economic and social progress.
 
 
1.         Wong, E., et al., Langerhans Cells Orchestrate the Protective Antiviral Innate Immune
            Response in the Lymph Node.
            Cell Rep, 2019. 29(10): p.3047-3059 e3.
2.         Wamhoff, E.C., et al., A Specific, Glycomimetic Langerin Ligand for Human Langerhans Cell
            Targeting. ACS Cent Sci, 2019. 5(5): p. 808-820.
3.         Schulze, J., et al., A Liposomal Platform for Delivery of a Protein Antigen to
            Langerin-Expressing Cells.
Biochemistry, 2019. 58(21): p. 2576-2580.
 

Thursday February 27th, 2020
LDC-associated company Quench Bio Closes USD 50M Series A Financing to Advance First-in-Class Medicines against Severe Inflammatory Diseases
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LDC-associated company Quench Bio Closes USD 50M Series A Financing to Advance First-in-Class Medicines against Severe Inflammatory Diseases

Dortmund and Munich, Germany, February 27, 2020 — The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), the Max Planck Society (MPG) and Max Planck Innovation (MI) announce that their associated company Quench Bio Inc., Cambridge, USA has raised USD 50 million in a Series A financing round. The financing was led by RA Capital Management (RA Capital) and included Abbvie Ventures as well as co-founders and seed investors Atlas Venture (Atlas) and Arix Bioscience plc (Arix).

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Quench Bio develops therapies targeting innate immune pathways to treat autoimmune and inflammatory diseases. The approach centres on a pore-forming protein called Gasdermin D that was identified as a potential new target during a collaboration between the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany, the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Physiology in Dortmund, Germany and the LDC.

In close collaboration, the partners generated a series of Gasdermin inhibitors that prevent the release of inflammatory cytokines, alarmins and neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs), thereby validating the protein as a key target at the core of multiple inflammatory cell death pathways, including pyroptosis and NETosis. The specific targeting of Gasdermin represents a novel mode of action for the treatment of numerous inflammatory diseases associated with NETosis, including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). When Quench Bio was founded in 2018, it received an exclusive license to IP relating to the therapeutic use of Gasdermin by LDC and MI. The co-founders, besides LDC and MI, include Atlas, Arix and MPG Directors Prof. Arturo Zychlinsky and Prof. Herbert Waldmann, among others.

The company has brought together an experienced team of drug developers and scientists, led by Chief Executive Officer Samantha Truex, the former Chief Business Officer of Padlock Therapeutics, which was acquired by Bristol Myers Squibb in 2016.

“With such a strong team of entrepreneurs, scientists and investors, the company is in an excellent position to deliver on the promise of an exciting new therapeutic platform concept,” says Bert Klebl, one of the LDC’s managing directors. “The emergence of Quench exemplifies the power of our collaborative approach to drug discovery. Together, we have been able to translate the discovery of Gasdermin and its role in inflammatory cell death into a validated therapeutic strategy with game-changing potential in many inflammation-related indications.”

“The LDC has already demonstrated a track record of successful outlicensing deals to pharma companies. The foundation of Quench Bio represents a major step in the spin-off sector. This VC-backed form of commercialization of MPG/LDC projects allows exquisitely well-focused, comprehensive and fast development,” adds Dieter Link, licensing manager at Max Planck Innovation.

 “I’m delighted by the strong support from MPG, MI, LDC and our investors, which enables us to advance our scientific findings towards medical practice,” adds Prof. Arturo Zychlinsky, Director of the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology. “Targeting inflammatory cell death pathways is a unique approach and may provide new opportunities for patients who currently have very limited treatment options.”

“Gasdermins are among, if not the most innovative and truly novel targets for the treatment of inflammatory diseases. They offer multiple opportunities for a whole flight of drug discovery programs,” adds Prof. Herbert Waldmann, Director at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology and Member of the Board of Directors of Quench Bio. “The Quench team is highly experienced in drug discovery and commands in-depth knowledge in the relevant disease areas, so that the company is ideally positioned for success.”

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About Quench Bio

Quench Bio is a biotechnology company leveraging new insights into Gasdermin biology and innate immunity to develop medicines for severe inflammatory diseases. Quench’s lead compounds target and inhibit the pore-forming protein Gasdermin D, a central player in both pyroptosis and NETosis pathways that mediates the release of inflammatory cytokines, alarmins, DNA and NETs. Quench Bio launched in January 2020 with USD 50 million from leading life science investors including Atlas Venture, Arix Bioscience, RA Capital and AbbVie Ventures.

To learn more, please visit www.quenchbio.com.

 

About LDC

The Lead Discovery Center 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 Lead Discovery Center takes on promising early-stage projects from academia and transforms them into innovative pharmaceutical leads and antibodies that reach initial proof-of-concept in animals. In close collaboration with high-profile partners from academia and industry, the Lead Discovery Center is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential.

The Lead Discovery Center sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Roche and Sotio as well as various investors leading translational drug discovery centers around the globe.

Further information at: www.lead-discovery.de

 

About Max Planck Innovation

Max Planck Innovation (MI) is responsible for the technology transfer of the Max Planck Society and, as such, the link between industry and basic research. With an interdisciplinary, team MI advises and supports scientists at Max Planck Institutes in evaluating their inventions, filing patents and founding companies. MI offers industry unique access to the innovations of the Max Planck Institutes. Thus, MI performs an important task: the transfer of basic research results into products that contribute to economic and social progress.

Further information at: www.max-planck-innovation.com

Wednesday February 5th, 2020
German–Chinese consortium to develop new drugs for the treatment of heart failure and cardiac hypertrophy
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German–Chinese consortium to develop new drugs for the treatment of heart failure and cardiac hypertrophy

February, 5th  2020, Dortmund – The development of a new drug for the treatment of heart failure and cardiac hypertrophy is a primary goal of “ChInValue – NRW–China Cooperations: GRK5 Inhibitors”. The project is being coordinated by the Lead Discovery Center (LDC) and conducted in cooperation with the Leibniz Institute for Analytical Sciences (ISAS) and two Chinese partners: Shanghai Jemincare Pharmaceutical Co. and Makohs Biotech. The German–Chinese consortium will devote itself to the fight against cardiac insufficiency and hypertrophy until the end of 2022. The German partners are being funded by a grant of around EUR 1 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

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Research will focus on GRK5, a protein kinase that has so far received little attention in drug development, despite being implicated in the development of heart failure or hypertrophic heart muscle in the vast majority of cases. The aim of the project is to develop low-molecular-weight substances that inhibit the pathological processes mediated by GRK5.

“Our ambitious goal is to develop a drug candidate that is ready to enter preclinical development by the end of this three-year project,” says LDC’s Managing Director and CSO, Dr Bert Klebl.

“We hope to develop an effective new therapy from which heart disease patients can profit in the near future,” explains the ISAS scientific director and head of the Biomedical Research Department, Prof. Kristina Lorenz, a pharmacologist specializing in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.  

Financial support is being provided by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of its funding programme “InterSPIN – internationalization of leading-edge clusters, forward-looking projects and comparable networks”. Within this context, BIO.NRW and BIO Clustermanagement NRW GmbH have conceived and realized the internationalization alliance „NRW-China Cooperations: A strategic perspective for innovative life science SME value chains”, of which this project in the fight against heart failure is a part.

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The author is responsible for the content of this publication.

Contacts

for the LDC

Public Relations LDC
T. +49 231 9742 7000
E. pr@lead-discovery.de

Lead Discovery Center GmbH
Otto-Hahn-Straße 15
44227 Dortmund

Germany

 

for ISAS

ISAS e.V.
T: +49 (0)2 31.13 92-1082
E. presse@isas.de

Leibniz Institute for Analytical Sciences (ISAS)
Bunsen-Kirchhoff-Straße 11
44139 Dortmund

Germany

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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 preferred partnership with the Max Planck Society and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Apeiron, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Daiichi Sankyo, Grünenthal, Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Merck KGaA, Qurient and Sotio as well as various investors and leading translational drug discovery centres around the globe.

Further information: www.lead-discovery.de

About ISAS

ISAS (Leibniz-Institut für Analytische Wissenschaften – ISAS – e.V.) develops fast, accurate, and cost-effective analytical procedures for health research in order to improve capabilities for the prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment of diseases. By combining expertise in chemistry, biology, physics, and computer science, we make measurable what cannot be measured yet. The institute was founded in Dortmund more than 60 years ago and has about 200 employees at two sites in Dortmund and one in Berlin Adlershof. Excellent interdisciplinary research, scientific qualification, and the transfer of our research findings to science, economy, and society are our key objectives to implement our mission.

Further information: www.isas.de