Press releases

Thursday November 2nd, 2023
Lead Discovery Center GmbH licenses next-generation anticancer drug candidate to HLB Life Science R&D
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Lead Discovery Center GmbH licenses next-generation anticancer drug candidate to HLB Life Science R&D
  • The new drug candidate effectively inhibits cancer cell repair by blocking RNA transcription
  • The goal is to jointly develop a new first-in-class therapeutic drug

Dortmund, Germany, and Seoul, Korea – November 2nd, 2023. HLB Life Science R&D (HLB), a leading Korean biopharmaceutical company, signed an agreement with Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) to license and co-develop a next-generation anticancer drug candidate. LDC is a top-class translational research organization renowned worldwide for early-stage drug discovery. The licensed drug candidate is based on an asset largely incubated at LDC with support from the neighboring Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology (Dortmund, Germany).

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This first-in-class candidate showed anticancer efficacy in early-stage research. It especially inhibits the transcription of genes involved in the self-repair of damaged cancer cells. HLB will move the candidate into clinical development by quickly completing the preclinical phase together with LDC.

HLB announced on August 9th, 2023, the signature of the license agreement for exclusive rights worldwide of the drug candidate. LDC and its partners Max Planck Foundation, Max Planck Society and KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I (KHAN-I) will receive an upfront payment, remuneration for development and sales milestones, along with royalties based on future revenues.

Dr. Bert Klebl, CEO & CSO of LDC, says, “We are delighted to have found a strong partner in HLB Life Science R&D. HLB has the power to promote our promising and novel candidate to the next stages of development, with the aim to reach cancer patients as soon as possible. We are much looking forward to this cooperation and partnership”.

Dr. Yong Hae Han, CEO of HLB Life Science R&D and CTO of HLB Group, adds, “We have deeply discussed with LDC for a long time that both companies are very interested in researching and developing next-generation anticancer drugs. Finally, both partners have agreed to take such interests to the next level. As soon as we bring the candidate into our R&D center, we will focus all our efforts on this project, and strengthen our partnership with LDC.”

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Contact
Lead Discovery Center GmbH
Otto-Hahn-Straße 15
44227 Dortmund
Germany
Phone: +49 231 97 42 70 00
E-mail: pr@lead-discovery.de

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About Lead Discovery Center GmbH

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. 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, LDC is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule and antibody leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. LDC sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society and KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I (KHAN-I), and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient, invIOs, Novo Nordisk, Cumulus Oncology, Nodus Oncology, JT Pharmaceuticals, KinSea Lead Discovery AS, and the Helmholtz Centre for Infection Research 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 available at: www.lead-discovery.de

About HLB Life Science R&D

HLB Life Science R&D, headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, is a 100% subsidiary of HLB Life Science, which was founded in 1998 and listed on KOSDAQ in 2008, with its current market cap of 1 billion USD approximately. Both HLB Life Science and HLB Life Science R&D are owned and governed by HLB group. HLB Group has now 37 affiliates and, especially in the healthcare industry, it has established a fully integrated bio-ecosystem from research to commercialization. As a result of such ecosystem, one of the affiliates submitted an NDA to the US FDA for a first-line therapy of Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). As a core of R&D within the group, HLB Life Science R&D has been developing anticancer drugs for the best cancer treatments by strengthening partnerships worldwide and exploring opportunities for synergies with its R&D capabilities.

Further information available at: http://hlbkorea.com/en/

About KHAN-I

KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co KG (KHAN-I) is an early-stage life sciences venture fund with € 70 million under management. Their mission is to create value through cooperative drug development partnerships with academic innovators in Europe. KHAN-I focuses on first-in-class therapies for attractive markets with a high unmet medical need. The fund is managed by Khanu Management GmbH, an experienced team of professionals with proven track records in early-stage drug development and academic spin-offs as well as pharma licensing and partnering. KHAN-I received an investment from the European Investment Fund (EIF) with the support of InnovFin Equity, and with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI) under the Investment Plan for Europe. KHAN-I is also supported by Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (AWS with funds provided by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs and the Austrian Foundation for Research, Technology, and Development), Max Planck Foundation, and Thyssen’sche Handelsgesellschaft mbH. In addition, KHAN-I sustains a preferred partnership with the Max Planck Society (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft e.V.).

Further information available at: www.khanu.de

About Max Planck Foundation

The Max Planck Foundation is a private, independent and non-profit organization with the sole purpose of providing funds for excellent, innovative and forward-looking research projects of the Max Planck Society. As additional support for scientists from the Max Planck Society the Foundation also facilitates the transfer from knowledge to application. The foundation was established in 2006 and the assets of the foundation are currently around € 650 million

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.

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Wednesday October 11th, 2023
LDC and JT team up for the discovery of new therapies
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LDC and JT team up for the discovery of new therapies

Dortmund, Germany, October 11th, 2023 – The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and Japan Tobacco Inc. (JT) have closed a collaboration agreement to discover new first-in-class therapeutic approaches, focusing around novel chemical entities for the treatment of various diseases with significant unmet medical need.

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Over a period of up to seven years, LDC, together with its extensive academic network, will identify high-potential projects that fit JT’s therapeutic priorities and in-licensing needs. The network includes research institutes of the Max Planck Society, other research organizations, as well as high-profile universities from all over Germany and beyond. Ideas for new therapeutic approaches will be collaboratively incubated at LDC as usual, although with additional support and expertise from JT. After achieving the proof-of-concept milestone by demonstrating in vivo efficacy for representatives of the respective new compound class, such projects will be targets for in-licensing by JT, where they will be further developed.

“We are pleased to team up with the LDC and its excellent network of academic inventors. The collaboration will enable us to identify truly novel therapeutic approaches that could make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients around the world”, says Muneaki Fujimoto, President of JT’s Pharmaceutical Business.

“We are excited to have a new industry partner on board who shares our brave ambition and the associated risks to transfer highly innovative approaches from academic research into application”, Bert Klebl, CEO and CSO of LDC, continues. “With their proven expertise in business and drug development, JT is perfectly positioned to advance early-stage projects along the value chain, and ultimately towards patients who urgently need new therapeutic options. We are looking forward to a productive and exciting collaboration.”

Academic inventors and their institutions will not only benefit from the drug discovery and development experience of both LDC and JT, but also from future commercialization revenues.

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Contact
Lead Discovery Center GmbH
Otto-Hahn-Straße 15
44227 Dortmund
Germany
Phone: +49 231 97 42 70 00
Mail: 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 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.

LDC sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society and its institutes as well as with KHAN-I, and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient, InvIOS, Novo Nordisk, Cumulus Oncology, Nodus Oncology, KinSea AS, HLB Life Science, the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, 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 JT

JT has a pharmaceutical business that focuses on research and development, manufacturing and sales of prescription drugs.

Further information at https://www.jt.com/about/division/pharma/index.html

Tuesday September 12th, 2023
RIANA Therapeutics enters into collaboration agreement with LDC
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RIANA Therapeutics enters into collaboration agreement with LDC

Vienna, Austria, and Dortmund, Germany – September 12th, 2023. RIANA Therapeutics, a spin-off from Vetmeduni Vienna has entered into a collaborative agreement with the Lead Discovery Center GmbH, a renowned organization specialized in translational drug discovery. This partnership marks the first important milestone on RIANA Therapeutics´ mission to discover and develop novel cancer therapeutics that disrupt oncogenic protein-protein interactions (PPIs).

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Inhibition of PPIs is an emerging drug modality and a highly promising therapeutic approach for numerous diseases, including cancer, to overcome widespread resistance to drugs already in use and to improve treatment efficacy. Under the now-signed collaboration agreement, LDC will conduct high-throughput screening (HTS) using a diverse compound library of more than 200,000 chemical substances to identify novel PPI inhibitors targeting STAT5, a critical mediator driving the development of Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).

Through the strategic partnership with LDC, RIANA Therapeutics secures invaluable access to LDC’s profound expertise in the field of early drug discovery. By combining their respective strengths, RIANA Therapeutics and LDC aim to accelerate the translation of innovative discoveries into potential therapeutics, with the declared long-term goal of improving the well-being of patients on a global scale.

Anna Orlova, co-founder and CEO of RIANA Therapeutics, expressed her excitement about the collaboration: “We are thrilled to partner with LDC, a highly experienced player in drug discovery. Their expertise and capabilities will be instrumental in our efforts to develop breakthrough therapeutics for hematopoietic and other cancer types. This collaboration marks a significant milestone for RIANA Therapeutics, and we look forward to working together to advance our shared mission of improving human health.”

Peter Nussbaumer, Managing Director at LDC, added: “We are highly motivated to start the challenging discovery of inhibitors targeting oncogenic PPI interactions within this new partnership with RIANA. This cooperation has the great potential to lay the groundwork for new, urgently needed therapeutic approaches for AML patients.”

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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. 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, LDC is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule and antibody leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential.

LDC sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society and its institutes as well as with KHAN-I, and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient, InvIOS, Novo Nordisk, Cumulus Oncology, Nodus Oncology, JT Pharmaceuticals, KinSea AS, HLB Pharma, the Helmholtz Center for Infection Research, 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 RIANA

RIANA Therapeutics was founded in February 2023 as a spin-off of Vetmeduni in Vienna by Anna Orlova, Richard Moriggl, and Oliver Szolar. The technological foundation is based on a proprietary platform technology for the discovery of compounds that target cancer-promoting protein-protein interactions (PPI), enabling a reliable search for inhibitors that block the formation of specific oncogenic PPIs. Building upon this novel proprietary technology, the team led by Orlova is working on developing new compounds specifically targeting AML, as well as other blood cancers and certain types of solid tumors.

Further information at www.rianatx.com

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Contact
Lead Discovery Center GmbH
Otto-Hahn-Straße 15
44227 Dortmund
Germany
Phone: +49 231 97 42 70 00
Mail: pr@lead-discovery.de

Wednesday February 8th, 2023
Norwegian Start-up KinSea to Exploit the Potential of Marine Bioactives for the Treatment of Cancer and other Diseases
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Norwegian Start-up KinSea to Exploit the Potential of Marine Bioactives for the Treatment of Cancer and other Diseases
  • Launched by UiT The Arctic University of Norway (UiT), University of Bergen (UiB), Norinnova, and Lead Discovery Center (LDC)
  • Lead program with outstanding in vivo efficacy as pan-mutant FLT3 kinase inhibitor in AML, even against hard-to-treat, drug-induced and drug-resistant mutations
  • Diversified drug discovery pipeline to be established based on the partners’ unique access to bioactives from the Arctic Ocean and premier drug discovery expertise
  • Financing secured by KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I
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February 8th, 2023, Tromsø and Bergen, Norway, Dortmund, Germany. Norinnova, UiT The Arctic University of Norway (UiT), the University of Bergen (UiB) and the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC), launched a new spin-out company, KinSea Lead Discovery AS (KinSea), to further develop an FLT3 kinase inhibitor program at lead status based on unique chemistry from marine sources towards (pre)clinical development. In addition, KinSea in a collaboration with UiT shall continue to comprehensively exploit the potential of marine bioactives for the treatment of human diseases. Seed financing is initially secured through a convertible loan from KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co KG (KHAN-I), an early-stage life sciences venture fund based in Germany, with the purpose to
expand the investor syndicate.

The company is based in Tromsø and will initially focus on its pan-mutant FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) inhibitor program which has strong potential to overcome the limitations of currently available first- and second-generation FLT3 inhibitors for the treatment of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) as well as other hematologic tumors. It is founded on a proprietary scaffold based on a natural product from the Arctic Ocean that has been discovered and further developed by the founding partners. Results from in vivo proof-of-concept studies in an animal model of AML suggest superior properties over existing FLT3 inhibitors, including broad activity against known drug-induced and drug-resistant FLT3 mutations, improved selectivity, and outstanding in vivo potency. The project has been developed in collaboration between UiT, UiB, and LDC and has been funded by the Norwegian Research Council and the regional biotech program MABIT.

‘For AML patients this may translate into safer, more effective and entirely new treatment options, where other drugs fail. It is a great opportunity to exploit the potential of this program for the benefit of patients,’ says Jeanette Hammer Andersen, CEO of KinSea. ‘We are excited to continue our longstanding collaboration on marine bioprospecting and to take our FLT3 inhibitors through the next steps in the drug discovery pipeline,’ adds Bengt Erik Haug, CSO of KinSea.

Using the proceeds of the seed financing, KinSea plans to mature its lead program into a preclinical candidate ready for advanced preclinical and clinical development by licensing partners. In addition, the company will seek to use UiT’s marine bioactives repository to gradually expand its drug discovery pipeline and become a sustainable source of high-potential drug candidates based on novel scaffolds from the Arctic Ocean.

‘We are convinced there are many more treasures hidden in the Arctic Ocean that could help solve some of the most pressing challenges in human health,’ adds Bert Klebl, CEO & CSO of LDC. ‘With its premier access to marine bioactives and the distinguished drug discovery expertise of its partners, KinSea is perfectly positioned to unlock this potential.’

Dag Rune Olsen, UiT´s director: Through our research effort on marine bioprospecting, highly motivated scientists, and the longstanding fruitful collaboration with the LDC, we have created the basis for this spin-out company. It is important for UiT to contribute to new business and value creation through innovation based on excellent research’.

‘The faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences sees the KinSea start-up as a very positive outcome of the longstanding high-level research that is being conducted at the faculty. Providing new knowledge and facilitating for innovation based on research is at the heart of the faculty´s mission. Together with a skilled team of partners we aim to fulfill the translation from basic research to a socially beneficial innovation project’, states Gunn Mangerud, UiB´s Dean of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

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About UiT
UiT The Arctic University of Norway (UiT) is the northernmost university of the world. Its location on the edge of the Arctic implies a mission. The Arctic is of increasing global importance. Climate change, the exploitation of Arctic resources and environmental threats are topics of great public concern, which UiT situated in all of Northern Norway take special interest in. At UiT The Arctic University of Norway we explore global issues from a close-up perspective.

About UiB
The University of Bergen (UiB) is an internationally recognised research university. Academic diversity and high quality are fundamental for us, as we aim is to develop knowledge that shapes society. UiB is the most cited university in Norway and we are among the very best in the world at interacting and collaborating internationally, and with actors outside the university. Situated in the Ocean City of Bergen, UiB has been assigned a leading role on the work with Sustainable Development Goal 14 Life Below Water.

About Norinnova
Norinnova is one of Northern Norway’s most competent and experienced agencies for research commercialization. Norinnova connects researchers, start-up environments, companies and commercial actors to develop and utilize the region’s innovation power. For more than 30 years, Norinnova has worked closely with researchers and leading research communities in Northern Norway to harness the power of innovation in the north. This collaboration has contributed to the creation of brand-new businesses and has reinforced existing companies through new products and services. Norinnova secures rights, helps provide funding, investigates market potential, finds relevant partners, and contributes so that the scientists can get their product or service to the market.
Further information at
www.norinnova.no

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. LDC sustains a long-term partnership with the Max Planck Society and KHAN-I, and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer, Boehringer Ingelheim, Merck KGaA, Daiichi Sankyo, Qurient, Roche, InvIOs, 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 KHAN-I
KHAN Technology Transfer Fund I GmbH & Co KG (KHAN-I) is an early-stage life sciences venture fund with €70 million under management. Our mission is to create value through cooperative drug development partnerships with academic innovators in Europe. KHAN-I focuses on first-in-class therapies for attractive markets with a high unmet medical need. The fund is managed by Khanu Management GmbH, an experienced team of professionals with proven track records in early-stage drug development and academic spin-offs as well as pharma licensing and partnering. KHAN-I received an investment from the European Investment Fund (EIF) with the support of InnovFin Equity, and with the financial backing of the European Union under Horizon 2020 Financial Instruments and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (“EFSI”) under the Investment Plan for Europe. KHANI is also supported by Austria Wirtschaftsservice GmbH (AWS with funds provided by the Austrian
Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs and the Austrian Foundation for Research, Technology, and Development), Max Planck Foundation, and Thyssen’sche Handelsgesellschaft mbH. In addition, KHAN-I sustains a preferred partnership with the Max-Planck Society (Max-Planck Gesellschaft e.V.).
Further information at
www.khanu.de

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Contact
Lead Discovery Center GmbH
Otto-Hahn-Straße 15
44227 Dortmund
Germany
Phone: +49 231 97 42 70 00
Mail: pr@lead-discovery.de

Thursday December 5th, 2013
Anti-Cancer Program Originating from LDC Reaches Clinical Trials
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Anti-Cancer Program Originating from LDC Reaches Clinical Trials

First LDC-lead structure successfully progressed by Bayer Pharma AG into clinical study phase

The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) announces today that an innovative kinase inhibitor program licensed to Bayer Pharma AG, Germany (Bayer) in 2011, has been progressed to clinical trials. By 2012, Bayer had successfully advanced a lead compound from the program to the preclinical development stage. This fall, Bayer enrolled the first participant into a Phase I study to determine the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic profile in patients with advanced cancer.

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Dortmund, December 05, 2013 – The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) announces today that an innovative kinase inhibitor program licensed to Bayer Pharma AG, Germany (Bayer) in 2011, has been progressed to clinical trials. By 2012, Bayer had successfully advanced a lead compound from the program to the preclinical development stage. This fall, Bayer enrolled the first participant into a Phase I study to determine the safety, tolerability and pharmacokinetic profile in patients with advanced cancer.

This is the first example of a program initiated and developed up to a lead structure stage by the LDC and its academic partners to progress into “First-in-Man” clinical trials. The licensed program included a lead structure from a chemical series of selective kinase inhibitors with potential for improving cancer treatment originally discovered by LDC. This lead structure was further optimized by Bayer scientists to provide a candidate suitable for clinical development.

“We are extremely pleased to see this program progressed by Bayer into Phase I clinical trials. This is a significant milestone which confirms our approach and encourages us further to commit all our energy into the development of our portfolio,” said Dr Bert Klebl, Managing Director & Chief Scientific Officer of LDC. “My thanks go to my dedicated colleagues from the LDC as well as to our academic collaboration partners. We have worked together very productively to rapidly transfer this novel approach from academic research to a lead structure with preclinical proof of concept. We are also grateful to the Bayer team for moving this program quickly forward from the lead structure into Phase I clinical testing.”

According to the partners’ agreement, the LDC receives an additional predefined payment on achievement of this milestone. The revenues will be shared with the LDC’s academic partners and the Max-Planck-Förderstiftung, which co-funded the early project development. Milestone payments to LDC may aggregate up to 82.5 million Euros in development milestones and up to 55 million Euros in sales milestones. In addition, LDC is eligible to receive royalty payments on net sales of products once marketed.

About the kinase inhibitor program:
The licensed lead structure belongs to a series of novel and highly selective kinase inhibitors 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-Förderstiftung. This program emerged from a collaboration between the LDC and 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).
Kinases are key components of biochemical signaling pathways that control cellular growth, metabolism and differentiation. They have therefore become prime targets for drug discovery and development in many diseases, especially in oncology.

About 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.
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, LDC is building a strong and growing portfolio of small molecule leads with exceptional medical and commercial potential. LDC sustains a preferred partnership with the Max Planck Society and has formed alliances with AstraZeneca, Bayer and Merck Serono as well as leading academic drug discovery centers around the globe.
Further information at: www.lead-discovery.de

Contact
Lead Discovery Center
Thomas Hegendörfer
T. +49.231.97 42 70 02
E. hegendoerfer@lead-discovery.de

Thursday October 31st, 2013
Lead Discovery Center Announces Five-year Strategic Partnership with Merck Serono
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Lead Discovery Center Announces Five-year Strategic Partnership with Merck Serono

LDC today announced a five-year strategic partnership with Merck Serono, Darmstadt, Germany, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. This collaboration integrates the expertise and resources of both organizations to expedite the discovery of promising lead structures and to optimize the development of therapeutic candidates in areas of high unmet medical need.

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Dortmund, Germany, October 31, 2013 – Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) a renowned translational research organization, today announced a five-year strategic partnership with Merck Serono, Darmstadt, Germany, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck. This collaboration integrates the expertise and resources of both organizations to expedite the discovery of promising lead structures and to optimize the development of therapeutic candidates in areas of high unmet medical need.

Under the terms of this agreement, Merck Serono and LDC will enter into a broader drug discovery collaboration aiming to identify lead candidates to multiple drug targets. Merck Serono hereby expands a successful initial collaboration with LDC in oncology into a strategic partnership spanning across all of Merck Serono’s core research and development areas. The first project under the new agreement will be in immunology and emerged from an ongoing collaboration of LDC with the Max-Planck researcher and Nobel Laureate Prof. Robert Huber.

“Merck Serono is a recognized leader in drug discovery and development with a strong research base in Germany and shares our rigorous approach to pursuing the most promising lead candidates,” said Dr. Bert Klebl, Managing Director of LDC. “We are excited to extend our collaboration with Merck Serono into a strategic alliance combining our complementary expertise to translate academic research into promising drug candidates at an accelerated rate, and with a greater chance of therapeutic success.”

“This partnership is a key element of our strategy to access alliances with leading partners to enhance our pipeline of novel targets and drug candidates,” said Dr. Susan Jane Herbert, Executive Vice President, Head of Business Development and Strategy at Merck Serono. “We are confident that the combination of LDC’s strong academic network and high innovation potential in chemical optimization and screening, combined with the drug development and clinical trial expertise of Merck Serono, has the potential to accelerate our joint development of new therapies in areas of high unmet medical needs.”

Both organizations will contribute expertise, infrastructure and resources to identify lead candidates and will work closely together in interdisciplinary project teams to advance them into pharmaceutical leads. More specifically, LDC will drive the design, screening and synthesis of compounds during discovery phases, while Merck Serono will provide extended in vitro and in vivo pharmacological profiling, scale up, pre-clinical and pharmacokinetics as well as clinical study design expertise. Merck Serono will be responsible for drug development and commercialization for selected drug candidates. Under the terms of the agreement, LDC will receive research funding, and for selected drug candidates, milestone and royalty payments. Further financial details of the agreement are not disclosed.

Contacts

Merck Serono

Andrea Marquart

T. +49.6151.72 6517

Lead Discovery Center
Thomas Hegendörfer
T. +49.231.97 42 70 02
E. hegendoerfer@lead-discovery.de

Tuesday March 12th, 2013
MPI of Biochemistry, LDC and Qurient Close License Deal on a New Compound against Metastatic and Drug-resistant Cancers
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MPI of Biochemistry, LDC and Qurient Close License Deal on a New Compound against Metastatic and Drug-resistant Cancers

The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB), the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and Qurient Co., Ltd have entered into a license agreement providing Qurient with world-wide, exclusive rights to a new kinase inhibitor for the treatment of metastatic cancer.

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March 12, 2013, Dortmund/ Martinsried, Germany and Gyeonggi-do, Korea – The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB), the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and Qurient Co., Ltd have entered into a license agreement providing Qurient with world-wide, exclusive rights to a new kinase inhibitor for the treatment of metastatic cancer.

The lead compound belongs to a family of highly selective Axl kinase inhibitors that was jointly developed by LDC and Max-Planck researchers around Prof. Axel Ullrich at MPIB. Together they have shown that the new Axl kinase inhibitor interferes with key mechanisms of metastasis formation and significantly reduces the number of metastases in-vivo. The project originally emerged from a collaboration of MPIB with Vichem Chemie Research Ltd.

During the coming year, Qurient, LDC and MPIB will work closely together to ensure a smooth transition of the project into preclinical and clinical development at Qurient. The company plans to continue the project at least to clinical proof-of-concept before sublicensing it to a partner for further development and marketing. Under the terms of the agreement, LDC and MPIB will receive an upfront payment as well as milestone and royalty payments, in line with the project’s progress.

This agreement would not have been possible without the support of Max Planck Innovation, the technology transfer organization of the Max Planck Society.

The new Axl kinase inhibitor addresses a severe unmet medical need. According to the WHO, the number of cancer deaths worldwide is still on the rise, with 13.1 million deaths predicted in 2030. Up to 90% of cancer deaths are thought to be due to metastasis. So far, there is no effective treatment available for metastasis, and there are only very few projects under development.

“It is a very exciting opportunity for Qurient to develop a promising Axl kinase inhibitor discovered at the world renowned research institutes LDC and MPIB,” says Kiyean Nam, CSO of Qurient. “This program will be a front runner in our strategy to turn cancer into a chronic disease enabling patients to lead a normal life style.”

Axel Ullrich, Director at MPIB comments: “We are delighted that we have concluded an agreement with such a competent partner. This partnership will be crucial to rapidly advance this completely novel approach to fight cancer to a successful product. While certain genetically well characterized cancers can be treated effectively today, metastasis formation remains a key threat to patients’ lives. A drug based on this novel mechanism of action will hopefully improve the quality of life of numerous cancer patients in the future.”

“Our new Axl kinase inhibitor addresses this challenging field, which has fallen behind in the industry’s development pipelines,” adds Bert Klebl, CEO of LDC. “With Qurient we have now attracted a partner who has not only the expertise and capability, but also the drive to move such an exciting project forward and help realize the potential of academic innovation for patients who lack satisfactory treatment options.”

About Qurient:

Starting operation in 2009, Qurient is a venture capital funded spin-off biotechnology company of Institut Pasteur Korea (IPK) and dedicated to developing novel therapeutics for unmet medical needs. Qurient has in-house expertise in research and development project management and operates in a large part as a development management company using its network of drug development capabilities.

Qurient works from discovery to human proof-of-concept programs, where transformation takes place from a high potential research program into a solid product portfolio. Further information available at: www.qurient.com

About MPIB:

The Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) is an international basic research institute elucidating the structure and function of proteins to better understand cellular mechanisms as well the pathogenesis of diseases such as cancer, diabetes or Alzheimer’s as well as to develop new strategies for therapy. With around 850 employees, the Institute is one of the largest biologically-medically oriented research institutes of the Max Planck Society. Since the founding of the Max-Planck-Institute of Biochemistry in 1972, MPIB scientists have twice been awarded the Nobel Prize.

The research of the Axel Ullrich lab is especially focused on the molecular analysis of cellular signal transduction mechanisms such as receptor tyrosine kinases and their role in cancer.

Further information available at: www.biochem.mpg.de/ullrich

Contacts

Qurient
Kiyean Nam
T. + 82.31.80 18 83 70
E. knam@qurient.com

Lead Discovery Center
Thomas Hegendörfer
T. +49.231.97 42 70 02
E. hegendoerfer@lead-discovery.de

Tuesday February 12th, 2013
LDC is Consortium Partner in European Lead Factory

LDC is Consortium Partner in European Lead Factory

The European Lead Factory, a novel platform for innovative drug discovery, was launched early February by an international consortium of 30 partners including the LDC. As part of its fully integrated drug discovery, LDC has cutting-edge expertise in medicinal chemistry including computational chemistry. Within the European Lead Factory the LDC will take part in the design of the novel public compound library by applying its industry-standard cheminformatics, design and medicinal chemistry know-how.

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Brussels/Leiden/Dortmund, 12 February 2013: LDC is Consortium Partner in €196 million backed European Lead Factory

Large pharmaceutical companies join forces with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and academia in an IMI-supported public private partnership (PPP) to enhance early drug discovery and so address the ever-increasing need for innovative therapeutics to tackle unmet medical needs.

The European Lead Factory, a novel platform for innovative drug discovery, was launched early February by an international consortium of 30 partners including the Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC). LDC is an expert in the discovery and generation of small molecule lead series by translating basic research results in close collaboration with the academic partners into developable and commercially relevant assets and pharmaceutical application. As part of its fully integrated drug discovery, LDC has cutting-edge expertise in medicinal chemistry including computational chemistry. Within the European Lead Factory the LDC will take part in the design of the novel public compound library by applying its industry-standard cheminformatics, design and medicinal chemistry know-how.

Pharmaceutical companies have vast libraries of compounds which can be screened in the hunt for potential medicines. To date, access to these compound libraries was highly restricted. As part of the European Lead Factory, the 7 participating pharmaceutical companies will contribute at least 300 000 chemical compounds from their corporate chemical collections. A library of an estimated additional 200 000 novel compounds will be developed jointly by academia and SMEs. Together, the two libraries will form a Joint European Compound Collection consisting of up to half a million compounds that will be accessible to all project partners and to public organisations offering promising new targets for drug discovery screening. These target proposals will be selected through competitive calls.

An equally important part of the European Lead Factory is the European Screening Centre, which will assist public contributors of novel targets in the development of tests amenable to the requirements of industrialised screening methodology. Both the sites in Scotland and the Netherlands will run state of the art facilities for compound logistics and high throughput screening to respectively handle the 500 000-strong compound library and to evaluate new compounds that are active against the novel targets.

The total budget for the project amounts to around €196 million. Of this, €80 million comes from the European Commission’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7), and €91 million is provided as in kind contributions from the participating companies that are members of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). The remaining €25 million comes from other contributions from the non-EFPIA participants.

IMI Executive Director Michel Goldman commented: ‘IMI is very excited by the launch of the European Lead Factory. This unique project is an excellent example of how a public-private partnership can transform the way in which the pharmaceutical sector identifies new medicines. For the first time, it will give European researchers unprecedented access to industry chemical collections and facilitate the translation of their findings into actual treatments for patients. This project will not only advance the chances of success in the discovery of new medicines by European researchers, but also add value by building research capacity in Europe.’

‘The European Lead Factory is an unprecedented innovative model in early drug discovery combining strengths of academia and industry. It is exciting for us to participate in this seminal public private partnership and to contribute our expertise to the success of this ambitious project. ’ says Peter Nussbaumer, Managing Director of the LDC.

Bayer HealthCare will be the coordinator from the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) for this IMI project. The Netherlands based non-profit organization TI Pharma will facilitate the overall scientific governance of this new project and is heading the European Consortium’s Screening efforts. Taros Chemicals is heading the European consortium’s chemistry effort.

About the Innovative Medicines Initiative
The Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) is the world’s largest public-private partnership in health. IMI is improving the environment for pharmaceutical innovation in Europe by engaging and supporting networks of industrial and academic experts in collaborative research projects. The European Union contributes €1 billion to the IMI research programme, and this is matched by in kind contributions worth at least another €1 billion from the member companies of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA). The Innovative Medicines Initiative currently supports 40 projects, many of which are already producing impressive results. The projects all address major bottlenecks in drug development, and so will accelerate the development of safer and more effective treatments for patients. 

Notes to Editors

The research leading to these results has received support from the Innovative Medicines Initiative Joint Undertaking under grant agreement n° 115489, resources of which are composed of financial contribution from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) and EFPIA companies’ in kind contribution.’

Project partners

EFPIA companies

 

Bayer Pharma AG, Germany

AstraZeneca AB, Sweden

H. Lundbeck A/S, Denmark

Janssen Pharmaceutica NV, a Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson, Belgium

Merck KGaA, Germany

Sanofi, Germany

UCB Pharma SA, Belgium

Universities, research organisations, public bodies, non-profit groups

Foundation Top Institute Pharma (Stichting Top Instituut Pharma), the Netherlands
Leiden University, the Netherlands
Max Planck Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften E.V., Germany
Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands
Stichting Het Nederlands Kanker Instituut, the Netherlands
Technical University of Denmark, Denmark
Universität Duisburg-Essen, Germany
University of Dundee, UK
University of Groningen, the Netherlands
University of Leeds, UK
University of Nottingham, UK
University of Oxford, UK
VU-University Amsterdam, the Netherlands

SMEs

BioCity Scotland Ltd, UK
ChemAxon, Hungary
Edelris S.A.S, France
Gabo:Mi Gesellschaft fur Ablauforganisation:Milliarium Mbh & Co Kg, Germany
Lead Discovery Center GmbH, Germany
Mercachem B.V., the Netherlands
Pivot Park Screening Centre B.V, the Netherlands
Sygnature Discovery Limited, UK
Syncom, the Netherlands
Taros Chemicals GmbH & Co KG, Germany

Friday January 25th, 2013
LDC forms Drug Discovery alliance with AstraZeneca
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LDC forms Drug Discovery alliance with AstraZeneca

The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and AstraZeneca have joined forces to discover new medicines for the treatment of human diseases with high unmet medical need. Through a two-year collaboration, AstraZeneca will add 250,000 high-quality compounds to LDC’s internal screening collection to pursue projects in the areas of oncology, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and infection research.

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Dortmund, January 25, 2013 – The Lead Discovery Center GmbH (LDC) and AstraZeneca have joined forces to discover new medicines for the treatment of human diseases with high unmet medical need. Through a two-year collaboration, AstraZeneca will add 250,000 high-quality compounds to LDC’s internal screening collection to pursue projects in the areas of oncology, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal and infection research.

The LDC will identify compounds from the combined collection that show activity against a portfolio of high-potential targets carefully selected by LDC from its broad range of academic partner institutions, including members of the Max Planck Society, Germany’s leading basic research organization. A joint steering committee will oversee the collaboration and review the output. LDC will take the most promising compounds into further drug discovery by optimizing them into pharmaceutical leads with in vivo proof-of-concept. AstraZeneca will have a preferred right to obtain a license for pre-clinical and clinical development and commercialization. Terms will be agreed individually to ensure a fair balance of investments, risks and potential returns between the partners.

Steve Rees, VP of Screening Sciences at AstraZeneca, commented: “The collaboration with LDC is part of an ongoing strategy to establish close relationships with leading academic drug discovery centres to support the generation of quality lead series for important and novel drug targets. We believe that the sharing of industry and academic expertise in precompetitive collaborations will greatly enhance the ability to bring novel drug targets into pharmaceutical discovery.”

Dr Bert Klebl, CEO of the LDC, adds: “We maintain a long-term relationship with AstraZeneca as a member of LDC’s Industrial Advisory Board. Getting access to this collection of high-quality screening compounds will now further increase the chances of success of our early drug discovery projects. This deal takes our partnership to the next level where our combined resources, expertise, and capabilities will accelerate the translation of academic findings into new medicines.”

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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.
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.

About AstraZeneca
AstraZeneca is a global, innovation-driven biopharmaceutical business with a primary focus on the discovery, development and commercialisation of prescription medicines for gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory and inflammation, oncology and infectious disease. AstraZeneca operates in over 100 countries and its innovative medicines are used by millions of patients worldwide.

Contacts
Lead Discovery Center
Thomas Hegendörfer
T. +49.231.97 42 70 02
E. hegendoerfer@lead-discovery.de

AstraZeneca
Florian Dieckmann
T. +49 (0)4103 708 3720
E. Florian.Dieckmann@astrazeneca.com

Monday January 21st, 2013
Alliance of Translational Research Centres Established to Accelerate Global Drug Development
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Alliance of Translational Research Centres Established to Accelerate Global Drug Development

Six of the world’s top translational health research centres today announced that they have come together to form a new Global Alliance of Leading Drug Discovery and Development Centres. The aim of this alliance is to strengthen the international academic and/or not-for-profit drug development and commercialization network to ultimately improve the rate at which academic research is translated into new medicines.

The founding organizations are:
•    Lead Discovery Center (LDC), Germany
•    The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada
•    The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Florida, United States
•    The Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3), KU Leuven, Belgium
•    Medical Research Council Technology, United Kingdom
•    Cancer Research Technology, United Kingdom

www.drugdevelopmentalliance.org

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London, United Kingdom and Dortmund – January 21, 2013 –  Six of the world’s top translational health research centres today announced that they have come together to form a new Global Alliance of Leading Drug Discovery and Development Centres. The aim of this alliance is to strengthen the international academic and/or not-for-profit drug development and commercialization network to ultimately improve the rate at which academic research is translated into new medicines.

The founding organizations are:
•    The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), Canada
•    Lead Discovery Center (LDC), Germany
•    The Scripps Research Institute, Scripps Florida, United States
•    The Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3), KU Leuven, Belgium
•    Medical Research Council Technology, United Kingdom
•    Cancer Research Technology, United Kingdom

All member organizations are fully-integrated translational centres capable of professionally advancing drug discovery projects along the value chain from idea to drug candidate with proof-of-concept.  Together, they represent close to 400 experienced drug developers collaborating with tens of thousands of academic scientists around the globe on over 165 highly innovative therapeutic projects targeting significant unmet medical needs. For the biopharmaceutical industry, they represent a major source of innovation. Numerous alliances with many of the industry’s leading global companies have been established to develop resulting drug candidates further and ultimately make them available to patients.

Through this Alliance, member organizations will collaborate on mutually-beneficial projects, share best practices, expertise and resources, and develop common standards and performance measurements – ultimately working together to improve the conversion of global early-stage technology into much needed therapies.

Karimah Es Sabar, President and CEO of CDRD commented, “We see a multitude of translational research initiatives around the world, but until now, these have for the most part, worked in isolation of one another. This Alliance will be a powerful vehicle in bringing such organizations together, leveraging one another’s strengths, and ultimately making for a much more effective global translational research environment.”

Dr. Bert Klebl, Managing Director and Chief Scientific Officer of the Lead Discovery Centre added, “This Alliance of outstanding Drug Discovery Centres will help us to accelerate the translation of academic results into new therapies around the globe. By joining forces and sharing complementary expertise and infrastructure, we will be even more effective in closing the gap between basic research and industry to the benefit of patients.”

For additional information on the Global Alliance of Leading Drug Discovery and Development Centres, please visit: www.drugdevelopmentalliance.org

Contacts:
Thomas Hegendörfer
Head of Business Development
Lead Discovery Center (LDC)
hegendoerfer@lead-discovery.de

or

Barry Gee
Director, Communications
The Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD)
bgee@cdrd.ca