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Boehringer signs $300 million deal with Epizyme over epigenetic cancer treatment

Published on 16/11/18 at 10:25am

German firm Boehringer Ingelheim and the Massachusetts-based biotech Epizyme have announced that they will collaborate on the development of novel, small molecule, inhibitors directed toward two previously unaddressed epigenetic targets as potential therapies for people with cancer, in a deal worth up to $300 million.

Boehringer will pay Epizyme an upfront payment of $15 million and an additional $5 million in research funding. However Epizyme will be eligible to receive more than $280 million in additional payments for research, development, regulatory and commercial milestones.

“Boehringer Ingelheim's collaboration with Epizyme furthers our strategic vision to profoundly impact the oncology treatment landscape by enabling a new generation of precision medicines,” said Dr Clive R. Wood, Senior Corporate Vice President, Discovery Research, Boehringer Ingelheim. “We are excited to launch this partnership with Epizyme and to work together with them to advance epigenetic inhibitors that have the potential to transform the lives of patients and help win the fight against difficult-to-treat cancers.”

Epigenetics determine the ways in which genes are expressed. More than half of cancers may stem from functional errors in epigenetic modification. Epizyme’s targets are particularly compelling due to the fact that they both have patient stratification biomarkers which allows for a focus on patients most likely to benefit from treatment.

“This partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to develop treatments for two novel epigenetic targets, which have been historically viewed as undruggable, further validates the promise of epigenetics for oncology and our pioneering leadership in this field,” said Robert Bazemore, president and chief executive officer of Epizyme. “By combining our innovative target identification and research capabilities with Boehringer Ingelheim's world-class drug development and commercialization expertise, we are aiming to realize the full potential of these targets and our platform, while continuing to focus on executing development of our lead program in multiple ongoing and planned clinical trials.”

Louis Goss

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