Today Nimbus and Celgene announced a significant partnership focused on autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
The alliance includes two pre-clinical autoimmune-focused programs in various stages of drug discovery. The most advanced program is a highly selective inhibitor of Tyk2, an immunokinase of the JAK family, which plays a central role in the inflammatory response (triggering IL-23, IL-12, and Type-I interferon). Human genetics, including both loss- and gain-of-function changes, validate Tyk2 as perhaps the most critical JAK family member to attenuate in many major autoimmune diseases. Given Tyk2s proximal role in regulating both Th17 and Th1 responses, the target is one of the most sought after by immunology R&D groups. BMS has a competing Tyk2 program in early clinical development. The figure below illustrates why a safe, well tolerated oral Tyk2 inhibitor has enormous potential: it would not only replicate the efficacy of multiple blockbuster mAbs, but also explore a large number of other autoimmune diseases beyond psoriasis and RA.
Another program in this alliance with Celgene is a small molecule, non-nucleotide antagonist of STING, a pattern recognition receptor in innate immune responses. In I/O today, STING agonists are believed to be of value in turning up the immune response to tumors; this antagonist program is aimed at doing the opposite to turn down inflammation in the context of autoimmunity, and STING activation has been implicated in the pathogenesis of diseases like lupus.
This deal, dubbed Project Everest as a reference to Celgenes corporate headquarters in Summit, NJ, was the product of over a years worth of active dialogues between the two leadership teams. Were excited to work with Celgene on these programs as they are great fits with their growing I&I franchise.
Beyond affirming the compelling science underpinning these programs, this deal provides further validation for the Nimbus Therapeutics tripartite value creation approach: cutting-edge computational drug discovery; globally-distributed, virtually-integrated operations; and, a novel asset-centric corporate structure LLC.
These three elements were central to our investment thesis when we seeded the startup in 2009, and again when we came out of stealth mode in spring 2011, culminating in our Series A round. Over the past six years, theres been several posts on Nimbus model and success (including early deal-making with the LLC structure, running virtual companies and the Uber-like disruption in this operating configuration, etc.). But to sum up these three pillars briefly:
Compelling scientific platform. Nimbus has a privileged relationship with our computational partner and co-founder, Schrdinger. Early on we were inspired by new approaches to understanding solvent energetics (unstable waters), but this relationship has grown into next generation techniques around FEP of ligands and proteins and better force fields. Further, we bring a host of other key technologies to bear, like crystallography, ADME prediction, and proprietary in silico designed molecular scaffolds, to name a few. On its own, technology isnt a viable standalone solution, as described in my cautionary post on Four Decades Of Hacking Biotech And Yet Biology Still Consumes Everything. Integration of this powerful technology suite within a team of bona fide drug hunters, who possess both a nose and judgment for drug discovery, is the critical ingredient in making this work.
(c) Copyright: Arab News 2017 All rights reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info)., source Middle East & North African Newspapers