BerGenBio selects Sygnature Discovery for BGB002 drug development

BerGenBio, an emerging oncology biopharma announced the signing of a contract with Sygnature Discovery, Nottingham, UK, for the pre-clinical development of a small molecule inhibitor against a novel target that mediates highly aggressive drug-resistant tumours.

This represents a further strengthening of the company’s pipeline with Phase I trials of lead candidate BGB324, a first-in-class AXL receptor tyrosine konase inhibitor, on track to commence within the next few months.

BerGenBio’s CEO Richard Godfrey revealed that recent publications in high profile journals have confirmed the role and function of the undisclosed novel target in aggressive cancers. “In particular this previously ignored target has been shown to be an essential mediator in drug resistant melanoma and small cell lung cancer, and there is growing validation for a unique role in driving tumor epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and sustaining cancer stem cell traits. The target was discovered using our proprietary CellSelect RNAi screening technology and Sygnature’s role will now be to develop a highly selective pre-clinical candidate, tool compounds and back-up leads with unique IP.”
Dr Simon Hirst, Sygnature’s Founder and CEO commented, “I am delighted that BerGenBio has selected Sygnature Discovery as its drug discovery partner. This is a challenging and exciting drug discovery programme focused on an emerging novel target. Having considerable in-house oncology drug discoveryknowledge and medicinal chemistry, computational chemistry and in vitro screening under one roof will enable us to accelerate BerGenBio’s BGB002 programme towards pre-clinical development.’

Financial terms were not disclosed and it is anticipated that a pre-clinical agent will be selected in 2014.

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