CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Ensemble Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing breakthrough small molecule therapies for cancer and other serious diseases, today announced that Novartis has acquired rights to expand its access to Ensemble’s interleukin-17 (IL-17) antagonist program, which was previously advanced as a joint collaboration between the two companies. This agreement provides additional validation of Ensemble’s proprietary drug discovery platform and further reflects Ensemble’s experience developing a pipeline of novel small molecules in collaboration with pharma partners.
In August 2013, the companies entered into a strategic development agreement for Ensemble’s proprietary program targeting the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-17. Ensemble has completed its contributions to this program and Novartis will now continue further activities independently. The financial terms of the transaction are not disclosed.
“Novartis is the best company to further develop and commercialize an orally-available, small molecule IL-17 antagonist,” said John Ripple, chief executive officer of Ensemble Therapeutics. “Novartis is a proven leader in the development and commercialization of treatments for IL-17-mediated inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.”
IL-17 is implicated in multiple inflammatory and autoimmune diseases such as psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s and inflammatory bowel disease. In the past, the inhibition of IL-17 has proven intractable to traditional small molecule pharmaceutical approaches and has only been addressed with antibody therapeutics. Ensemble’s proprietary IL-17 antagonists program offers the basis for potentially first-in-class, orally active, small molecule inhibitors of this important, commercially validated target.
About Ensemble Therapeutics
Ensemble discovers and develops small molecule therapies for cancer and other serious diseases. The company is aggressively applying its proprietary drug discovery platform to develop macrocycles and other novel small molecules against well-validated, but challenging disease targets that are not adequately treated by conventional small molecules or antibodies. Ensemble’s lead oncology program is focused on the immune checkpoint target IDO, which is implicated in a variety of cancers. The company also has a number of other development programs in oncology, including deubiquitinase (DUB) antagonists. Ensemble was founded in 2004 by renowned Harvard Professor David R. Liu, Ph.D., and is backed by a blue-chip investor syndicate. For more information, visit www.ensembletx.com.