EPIX Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced that it has received a $1.25 million milestone payment from Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Therapeutics, Inc. (CFFT), the nonprofit affiliate of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
This milestone marks EPIX and CFFT’s successful completion of the development of a validated model of a full-length Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane conductance Regulator (CFTR) ion channel protein.
A mutation in the CFTR gene that codes for this channel is one of the key factors that ultimately lead to the symptoms, complications and premature mortality in people with cystic fibrosis.
“Our collaboration with CFFT has now resulted in four achieved milestones in two years and further validates our computational-medicinal chemistry approach to drug discovery,” stated Michael G. Kauffman, M.D., Ph.D., chief executive officer of EPIX.
He continued, “Following the promising data from our Phase 2a clinical trial of PRX-03140, our novel drug candidate in Alzheimer’s disease, we are pleased to begin 2008 with the continued success of our drug discovery engine and ongoing collaboration with our CFFT partners. This new, complete model of CFTR will allow us to prepare for the lead optimization process and further advance our research efforts in cystic fibrosis.”
“This is a major milestone in our efforts to use structure-based technologies to design new drugs that could treat CF by addressing the basic defect,” said Robert J. Beall, Ph.D., president and chief executive officer of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “In the two years since this alliance was initiated, EPIX has been consistently ahead of schedule. Their full-length CFTR model was completed early, and has already been used to identify interesting molecules that increase CFTR activity in cell-based assays.”
This is the fourth milestone payment under a research, development and commercialization agreement between EPIX and CFFT signed in 2005 that focuses on discovering potential drug therapies targeting the CFTR ion channel.
The collaboration between the two organizations was recently expanded in November 2007 to allow EPIX to continue the discovery process, set up a biological lab and prepare for lead optimization.