Representing an approach to in vivo kinase-related drug discovery, ASKA technology is based on the replacement of a normal kinase with a selectively modified kinase or ASKA (Analogue Sensitive Kinase Allele) in genetically modified mice.
Under the terms of the transaction, Artemis and Taconic are assigned the entire portfolio of ASKA intellectual property rights (including all ASKA IP that CGI had previously licensed exclusively from Princeton University) as well as know-how, trade secrets and materials developed by CGI.
Included are the rights to patents based on the chemistry and molecular biology work of Dr. Kevan Shokat, inventor of the ASKA technology. Financial details of the transaction were not disclosed.
Through their existing strategic alliance for delivering genetically modified mice to researchers, Artemis and Taconic will generate, market, and distribute ASKA transgenic mouse models in which a fully functional ASKA replaces the normal kinase gene in the murine genome.
The availability of ASKA mice will provide a significant contribution to kinase-related drug discovery, as they represent the most relevant in vivo models to date for validating and testing the function of kinases as drug targets for a wide range of human diseases including cancer, cardiovascular and degenerative brain diseases.
Protein kinases are a major family of drug targets across a broad range of clinical indications and are considered the largest single class of drug targets.
“We are very excited about the acquisition of ASKA by the Artemis-Taconic Alliance,” said Dr. Peter Stadler, Managing Director, Artemis.
Stadler continued, “ASKA represents the gold standard for kinase target validation and provides us with greater access to chemical genetics. As a result, it considerably strengthens the Artemis-Taconic Alliance’s leading technology position in mouse genetics and functional genomics, and augments our offerings to customers in the pharmaceutical industry and academia.”
“The acquisition of ASKA technology tremendously increases the value of the Artemis-Taconic Alliance by further improving researchers’ access to vital genetically modified models through the use of cutting-edge technology,” said Samuel Phelan, Chief Executive Officer, Taconic.
“By adding ASKA technology to our repertoire, the Alliance can now provide multiple solutions to clients needing ASKA mice. These solutions include commercially available models and custom-generated models plus licenses for in-house use of the technology,” he added.