C4X Discovery has formed a discovery partnership with British medical research charity LifeArc to collaborate on the development of small molecule drug candidates active against a novel oncology and inflammation target.

The companies will work together on progressing medicinal chemistry efforts through a commercial programme with applicability across oncology and inflammation indications.

The undisclosed target is said to have originated during the course of LifeArc’s partnerships in early stage academic research.

Under the partnership, the companies will leverage each other’s drug discovery expertise.

The partnership seeks to benefit from application of C4XD’s ligand-focused conformational analysis platform, Conformetrix, in addition to LifeArc’s experience in the programme.

C4XD and LifeArc intend to develop oral, potent and selective small molecule drug candidates against the target suitable for pre-clinical out-licensing to a clinical development partner.

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C4X Discovery CEO Dr Clive Dix said: “LifeArc is a highly respected medical charity with access to world-leading academic research for conditions where there is a clear need for new treatments coupled with deep experience in drug discovery.

“This highlights our strategic approach of accelerating towards a diversified portfolio of pre-clinical assets for out-licensing.”

“This partnership not only demonstrates the potential of our Conformetrix platform, it also highlights our strategic approach of accelerating towards a diversified portfolio of pre-clinical assets for out-licensing.”

The companies have not disclosed the terms of the agreement.

LifeArc Drug Discovery executive director Dr Justin Bryans said: “Our new partner’s expertise in the rapid design and analysis of novel small molecule therapeutics complements LifeArc’s drug discovery expertise.

“C4XD’s focus on diseases with high unmet medical need is entirely in line with our objective of ensuring that innovative life sciences technologies progress along their development pathway towards the patients who so desperately need them.”

C4XD’s technology portfolio includes DNA-based target identification platform (Taxonomy3), which uses human genetic datasets to identify novel patient-specific targets.

Meanwhile, the company’s chemistry technologies, Conformetrix and Molplex, combine 4D molecular shape analyses with computational chemistry.