X-Chem and Vertex form multi-target genetic disease collaboration


US-based firms X-Chem and Vertex Pharmaceuticals have signed a collaboration agreement to discover new drug leads against targets involved in multiple speciality diseases.

Under the agreement, X-Chem will apply its DEX libraries containing around 120 billion small molecules to discover new drug leads.

Vertex will have the option to licence these new leads and will hold the responsibility to carry out further development and commercialisation of the products.

X-Chem chief executive officer Rick Wagner said: “We look forward to working closely with Vertex, a recognised innovator in the discovery of first-in-class treatments for severe, life-threatening diseases.

“The combination of X-Chem’s DEX platform and Vertex’s expertise has great potential to generate promising leads that could lead to medicines for the treatment of serious, speciality diseases with high unmet needs.”

The size and diversity of its DEX library provides X-Chem the opportunity to discover multiple series of novel, potent and selective lead compounds for different targets.

"We look forward to working closely with Vertex, a recognised innovator in the discovery of first-in-class treatments for severe, life-threatening diseases."

The company noted that X-Chem’s approach to library construction will allow for additional chemical reactions to become useable in DNA-encoded library synthesis.

Vertex senior vice president and Boston Research site head Mark Bunnage said: “As Vertex continues to grow and diversify its R&D pipeline, we look to complement our productive internal efforts with other organisations who share our passion to treat diseases for which there is no existing treatment.

“With a cutting-edge, small molecule lead discovery platform, X-Chem is ideally suited to help Vertex tackle challenging rare-disease targets.”

The agreement also entitles X-Chem for an upfront payment along with potential research, development and regulatory milestones and licensing fees.

X-Chem will also receive royalties on revenues generated from the medicines developed under this collaboration.

The agreement can be amended in the future to include additional targets.