CHENGDU, China--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Shanghai Stock Exchange listed biotech company HitGen Inc. (“HitGen”) announced important research progress in a collaboration with BioAge Labs, Inc. (“BioAge”), a private biotechnology company developing targeted small molecules for the treatment of diseases of aging. The companies have conducted collaborative research to identify and develop novel small-molecule compounds against a high-value and challenging biological target that is a critical component of the innate immune system. Dysregulation of this target is closely linked to the underlying cause of severe diseases in elderly humans, such as Alzheimer's and cardiovascular disease.
HitGen is a world leader in the development and applications of DNA encoded library (DEL) screening. The availability of over 1 trillion small molecules generated by DEL technology and the efficiency of the screening process have made it possible for HitGen to enable drug discovery projects for many organisations around the world.
According to the terms of the collaboration agreement, HitGen has successfully applied its DEL technology and discovered program compounds that met certain criteria, and BioAge has received an exclusive license to these compounds as well as associated IP for further development and commercialization. HitGen will be eligible for milestone payments and sublicensing income from BioAge as the project progresses, in addition to research payments and an upfront license fee already paid.
“We are very pleased to collaborate with HitGen to find novel small-molecules against drug targets identified by BioAge’s platform, which analyzes samples collected over the lifespan to map the molecular pathways that drive human aging,” said Kristen Fortney, PhD, BioAge’s Chief Executive Officer. ”HitGen’s DEL technology allows BioAge to discover novel, patentable molecules that modulate key aging pathways.”
“We are enthusiastic about having the ability to identify promising hit molecules in such a short time.” said Paul Rubin, CMO and EVP Research and Development at BioAge. “These earlier-stage discovery programs will complement and accelerate our parallel in-licensing efforts, allowing us to build an extensive portfolio of clinical-stage assets that target the molecular mechanisms of aging to treat severe diseases and extend healthy human life.”
“I am delighted to see the successful identification of novel compounds for this important biological target that BioAge has been pursuing,” said Dr. Jin Li, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of HitGen. “This research progress is made possible by the close interaction and collaboration of the scientists from the two companies. It also reinforces the role and reputation of HitGen’s platform in the rapidly developing field of DEL and its ability to discover novel small molecules against a variety of targets. We look forward to seeing BioAge research progress further in bringing transformative medicines to patients.”
About BioAge Labs, Inc.
BioAge is a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing a pipeline of treatments to extend healthy lifespan by targeting the molecular causes of aging. The company uses its discovery platform, which combines quantitative analysis of proprietary longitudinal human samples with detailed health records tracking individuals over the lifespan, to map out the key molecular pathways that impact healthy human aging. To date, BioAge has raised $127M from Andreessen Horowitz, Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, and others. In early 2021, BioAge initiated Phase 2 clinical trials of two in-licensed drugs: BGE-117, a potent inhibitor of HIF PH, is being tested for unexplained anemia of aging, and will be developed for indications related to muscle weakness; BGE-175, a PGD2 DP1 receptor inhibitor, is being tested for COVID-19, and will be developed for disorders of the aging immune system. For additional information about BioAge, visit the company’s website at www.bioagelabs.com.
About HitGen Inc.
HitGen Inc. is a rapidly developing biotech company headquartered in Chengdu, China, with subsidiaries in Cambridge, UK and Houston, USA. It became a publicly listed company in Shanghai Stock Exchange in April 2020 (ticker code 688222.SH). HitGen has established a drug discovery research platform for small molecules and nucleic acid drugs centered on the design, synthesis, and screening of DNA encoded chemical libraries (DELs), fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) and structure-based drug design (SBDD) technologies. HitGen's DELs currently contain more than 1 trillion novel, diverse, drug-like small molecules and macrocyclic compounds. These compounds are members of DELs synthesized from many hundreds of distinct chemical scaffolds, designed with tractable chemistry, and have yielded proven results for the discovery of small molecule leads against both precedented and unprecedented classes of biological targets.
Through its acquisition of Cambridge UK based Vernalis R&D Ltd, a leader in FBDD/SBDD, HitGen now has a research team of over 500 scientists and offers a full set of research capabilities including recombinant protein expression and purification, structural biology, assay development, screening, DEL synthesis, nucleic acid and small molecule chemical synthesis, computational and medicinal chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics, cell biology, in vivo pharmacology, DMPK, CMC, etc., to enable drug discovery research from target gene to IND filing.
HitGen operates a flexible business model, ranging from a single capability-based fee for services (FFS，e.g., protein expression and purification, structural biology, bioinformatics, computational chemistry, medicinal chemistry, nucleic and organic chemistry, analytical chemistry， biophysics, PK, PD, etc.), DEL screening, DEL design, synthesis and characterization, integrated drug discovery projects, risk sharing projects, collaborative ventures to program out-licensing. HitGen has approximately 20 in-house drug discovery programs at different stages of research & development. HitGen is collaborating with pharmaceutical, biotech and chemical companies, foundations and research institutes in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia to enable the discovery and development of novel medicines and agrochemicals.