Blaze Bioscience, Inc. and Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center announced a collaboration and option agreement to support the Hutchinson Center’s Optides Discovery Program and advance drug candidates identified using the platform.
Optides, short for “optimized peptides,” are tiny molecules derived from natural organisms such as scorpions, violets and sunflowers. Optides can be instructed to bind to particular kinds of cancer cells, disabling only those cells. They also can be attached to chemotherapy drugs, transforming them into precision therapies that spare healthy cells.
Under the terms of the agreement, Blaze will provide development and commercialization guidance, as well as access to Blaze technology, for optide drug candidates during the discovery phase at the Hutchinson Center. Blaze has the option to exclusively license commercial rights to optide drug candidates that achieve certain criteria. In addition to technology access and support, the Hutchinson Center has received an additional equity stake in Blaze and will receive further payments on each product candidate optioned by Blaze. Any optide candidates not optioned by Blaze will belong fully to the Hutchinson Center including any intellectual property developed or provided by Blaze in the discovery phase for that optide candidate.
Blaze’s first development candidate, BLZ-100, is based on the first optide discovered by the Hutchinson Center. BLZ-100 is a variant of a peptide called chlorotoxin, which was originally derived from scorpion venom. This optide forms the backbone of the Tumor Paint technology previously licensed by Blaze.
“Collaborating on the Optides Program with the Hutchinson Center is a natural extension of our pipeline and utilizes our combined expertise,” said Heather Franklin, co-founder, president and chief executive officer of Blaze. “Our Tumor Paint technology program has maintained its aggressive schedule to advance BLZ-100 from license to clinic in just two years. Helping the Hutchinson Center quickly advance additional optide product candidates with efficient technology transfer followed by rapid entry into the clinic benefit both the Hutchinson Center and Blaze, but more importantly, may ultimately benefit patients.”
“We are pleased to establish this collaboration with Blaze. It is structured to efficiently match the Hutchinson Center’s superb discovery science with Blaze’s industry expertise in drug selection and peptide drug development in efforts to speed the transfer of Hutchinson Center optides discoveries to the clinic,” said Ulrich Mueller, vice president of Industry Relations and Clinical Research Support at the Hutchinson Center. “This will further the Hutchinson Center’s overarching mission to eliminate cancer and related diseases as causes of human suffering and death.”