Debiopharm and Moffitt Cancer Center Sign Development and Commercialization Agreement for Small Molecule
News Jun 22, 2009
Debiopharm Group and Moffitt Cancer Center (Moffitt), a non-profit Florida corporation, announce the signature of an exclusive license agreement for the development and commercialization of Debio 0928, a small molecule in early preclinical development that inhibits the protein-protein interaction between Raf-1 (key signaling kinase in the MAP kinase pathway) and Rb (retinoblastoma protein). Rb acts as a barrier to cell division and proliferation.
However, when Raf-1 physically interacts with Rb, it triggers a cascade of signals that eventually overcomes this barrier, thus inducing cellular proliferation. By preventing the interaction between Raf-1 and Rb and blocking the cell cycle, Debio 0928 creates a new strategy in the fight against cancer and is thus a potentially promising novel anti-tumor drug.
Under the terms of the agreement, Debiopharm shall pay Moffitt an up-front fee, as well as predefined advanced milestone payments during the development of Debio 0928. First entry of the product into man is expected for 2012.
“This discovery, made by the collaboration between Drs. Srikumar Chellappan, Said Sebti, and Nicholas Lawrence at Moffitt, is a novel approach to the treatment of cancer,” said Rolland-Yves Mauvernay, President and Founder of Debiopharm Group. “Being able to de-activate a key signaling kinase like Raf-1, known to be involved in many types of cancer, could open the door to more effective oncology treatments in the future.”
“The disruption of the binding of the tumor promoter Raf-1 to the tumor suppressor Rb with Debio 0928 is a novel, first-in-class therapeutic strategy that has the potential for targeting a wide spectrum of human cancers,” added Dr. Said Sebti, Chair, Department of Drug Discovery at Moffitt.