Compugen and Bayer Schering Pharma have signed a collaboration to evaluate a newly discovered tumour target and its splice variants.

The existence of the target and its splice variants was initially predicted in silico by Compugen through the use of its Monoclonal Antibody (mAb) Targets Discovery Platform and then validated experimentally.

The new tumour target and its splice variants are previously unknown splice variants of a known cancer target, for which therapeutic agents are in pre-clinical development by other organisations.

Each of the Compugen molecules, however, has a unique sequence that could enable the development of monoclonal antibodies specific to each of the respective splice variants.

Following an initial six-month joint research stage, the agreement will provide Bayer with the option for an exclusive worldwide royalty bearing license to develop monoclonal antibodies and other therapeutic agents for these novel target molecules.

Compugen co-CEO Dr Anat Cohen-Dayag said that the mAb Target Discovery Platform is now providing the company with a growing inventory of novel target candidates.

“This is a key step in the development of monoclonal antibody biotherapeutics for both solid tumours such as ovarian cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer, as well as haematological malignancies such as leukaemia and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma,” said Cohen-Dayag.