In June 2015 the Almac Discovery team entered into a Research and Licensing agreement with Genentech to discover and develop small molecule inhibitors identified from its platform to a single ubiquitin specific protease (USP) target. Genentech paid $14.5M upfront and could pay up to $349M in development and sales milestones plus tiered royalties on sales to access Almac Discovery’s USP expertise and intellectual property for the target. The USP platform has been successfully used to identify novel, potent and selective inhibitors to the target that will form the starting point for a two year joint research programme funded by Genentech. Genentech will be responsible for all pre-clinical and clinical development and commercialisation of products arising from the collaboration.
In June 2015 the Almac Discovery team entered an R&D collaboration with Elasmogen, an Aberdeen University-based biologics drug discovery company, to co-develop Elasmogen’s soloMERTM technology for the treatment of solid tumours.
Elasmogen and Almac jointly manage the research and development activities aimed at developing a drug candidate to an oncology target. Both parties share costs, with Almac being responsible for commercialisation.
SoloMERsTM are humanised versions of antibody-like proteins that were first discovered in sharks. They are chemically robust molecules that tolerate conjugation well. It’s believed that soloMERsTM bind specifically to the cancer tissue and will penetrate inside the tumour before releasing their war-head of anti-cancer drugs, maximising the damage to the tumour and minimising the toxic effects to healthy tissues.
Queens University Belfast
In 2012 Almac Discovery and Queens University entered into a long-term strategic collaboration designed to marry the research and clinical capabilities of the university with the medicinal chemistry and translational biology expertise of Almac Discovery. The initiative has been supported over the last 3 years by a £4.4M Invest Northern Ireland grant.