Almac Discovery and Merck (MSD) will tackle specified Deubiquitinase (DUB) targets for treating several neurogenerative diseases and other conditions. Almac Discovery has worked on DUB-related projects in the past, using its Ubi-Plex assay and drug-finding platform to identify and develop novel inhibitors.
According to Almac Discovery, Ubi-Plex can be harnessed to generate novel candidate drugs that target a range of therapeutic areas. These include oncology, viral, inflammatory and metabolic disorders, and more.
According to Stephen Barr, managing director and president of Almac Discovery, his organization will benefit from MSD’s experience and knowledge base.
“Both MSD and Almac are aligned in our missions to develop treatments for illnesses that represent areas of significant unmet medical need,” he added.
The two organizations will kick off the collaboration with a two-year joint research program, with the goal to identify and progress novel, potent and selective small molecule inhibitors. MSD will be responsible for conducting lead optimization, preclinical and clinical development, and commercialization.
Fiona Marshall—vice president, head of neuroscience discovery, and head of discovery science for MSD UK—said, “We look forward to working with scientists at Almac to evaluate the potential of novel small molecule DUB inhibitors.”
Tim Harrison, vice president of drug discovery for Almac Discovery, added that the collaboration between his company and MSD will develop “much-needed new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.”
Under the agreement’s terms, Almac Discovery will receive an upfront license fee and research funding from MSD; the financial details have not been disclosed. Almac Discovery also is eligible for payments based on the achievement of predetermined research, development and commercial milestones, in addition to tiered royalties on potential commercial sales of products resulting from the collaboration.
Earlier this year, Almac announced a partnership with another pharmaceutical firm, Pfizer. That collaboration focuses on development of patient-specific gene therapy for Duchenne muscular dystrophy.