WALTHAM, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--X-Chem, Inc. (X-Chem), a privately held biotechnology company applying its innovative DNA-Encoded X-Chem (DEX™) drug discovery platform to generate novel therapeutics, today announced that a licensing option with Janssen Biotech, Inc., one of the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, has been exercised for a protein inhibitor program of inflammatory disease. The licensed program comprises cell-active, potent small molecules that inhibit a difficult-to-drug protein ligand-receptor interaction. Janssen exercised its license option under an agreement to discover new treatments for inflammatory disease established by the companies in December 2014. The licensing event triggers a milestone payment under the collaboration agreement; X-Chem is eligible to receive future payments linked to the achievement of defined milestones, as well as royalties.
Under the 2014 agreement, facilitated by Johnson & Johnson Innovation, the two companies have focused on the discovery and development of candidate molecules for the treatment of inflammatory diseases leveraging the application of X-Chem’s proprietary discovery engine, powered by a unique high diversity DNA-encoded small molecule library, to identify novel compounds targeting proteins involved in the inflammatory response.
“Our goal has been to leverage the target expertise of Janssen and put the power of our libraries and platform to work,” said Rick Wagner, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of X-Chem. “The quality of the molecules that emerged from this campaign underscores our vision – to discover potent molecules from the initial library screen, even using difficult-to-drug targets such as those involved in protein:protein interactions.”
About the DNA-Encoded X-Chem (DEX™) Library and Platform
Due to the size and diversity of the DEX library, X-Chem can discover multiple series of novel, potent and selective lead compounds at an unprecedented rate of success against a wide range of targets, including some that previously failed using conventional screening methods. A number of proprietary innovations in library design, screening methodology and bioinformatics underlie the exceptional performance of the DEX platform. In particular, X-Chem’s approach to library construction allows for additional chemical reactions to become useable in DNA-encoded library synthesis. Together, these developments result in a much greater repertoire of diversity for small molecules, which cover a range of categories including fragment molecules, small molecular weight heterocyclic compounds, and macrocyclic structures. This diverse library, combined with a heightened ability to detect active molecules, has yielded a robust process that has been highly successful against targets categorized as difficult or intractable.
The X-Chem drug discovery engine is based on a library generated by iterative combinatorial synthesis of small molecules tethered to DNA tags that record the synthetic history of the small molecule. Every small molecule in the library has a unique DNA barcode attached it. The library is screened as a mixture using affinity-based binding to a target of interest. Certain rare molecules in the library that bind to the target can be “fished out,” while the rest of the molecules wash away. DNA sequencing methods are then used to detect molecules that are enriched when bound to the target. The diverse nature of the library produces multiple families or clusters of related molecules that bind to the target, forming a basis for emergent structure-activity relationships. Structure-activity relationships are typically used by medicinal chemists to guide iterative chemical maturation of a molecule into a drug. Based on the synthetic history encoded in the DNA sequence information, molecules are then made without the DNA tag attached, and tested for activity in conventional assays.
X-Chem, Inc. is a privately-owned biotechnology company based in Waltham, Mass. The company’s mission is to apply its powerful product engine to the discovery of small molecule compounds against high-value therapeutic targets. X-Chem has established partnerships with Roche, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Pfizer, Alexion, MD Anderson Cancer Center and several other leading pharmaceutical companies, biotechnology organizations, and academic centers. For further information on X-Chem, please visit: http://www.x-chemrx.com/.