Almac Discovery and HitGen Announce Strategic Research Collaboration

May 20, 2022

Almac Discovery, the research driven drug discovery company and a member of the Almac Group, today announced a new research collaboration with HitGen Inc. (SSE: 688222.SH), a world leader in the development and application of DNA-encoded library (DEL) technology for novel chemical equity (NCE) generation. The collaboration is focused on the identification of novel compounds against selected Deubiquitinating enzyme (DUB) targets of strategic interest to Almac.

Almac Discovery has built an industry-leading platform to prosecute novel targets emerging from the DUB class of enzymes, an increasingly important target class for drug development, which is underpinned by high quality biological validation linking these targets to disease indications. Almac has utilised this platform to generate its own portfolio of drug discovery programmes, as well as to advance a number of DUB programmes of interest to pharmaceutical partners through a collaborative model.

In this collaboration, the companies will work together to identify novel chemical compounds against selected DUB targets.  Almac will provide the targets, and HitGen will then screen their expansive library of over 1.2 trillion small molecules against these targets. Initial hits resulting from the screens will be further validated, and those that meet Almac Discovery’s selection criteria will be taken forward into discrete research and development programmes. The ultimate objective will be to generate highly potent and selective lead compounds that will allow the pharmacological validation of selected DUB targets in a number of different therapeutic modalities.

Professor Tim Harrison, Vice President of Drug Discovery at Almac Discovery, said: “We are delighted to have signed our latest research collaboration agreement with such an experienced and renowned leader in drug discovery chemistry research. The technology that HitGen has developed perfectly complements our expertise in DUB target chemistry and biology.   

“We are excited at the possibility of utilizing DUBs to enable new approaches to disease modulation and look forward to working with HitGen to develop innovative treatments for diseases with high unmet medical need.” 

Dr. Jin Li, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of HitGen, said: “As one of HitGen’s four core technology platforms, DEL is an efficient ‘engine’ to drive drug discovery with proven success. Over the past few years, we have worked with our partners to utilize this platform to generate nearly 500 licensed novel chemical structures for their research projects.  We look forward to working with Almac Discovery to identify novel small molecule starting points from DNA-encoded libraries. We will work closely with Almac Discovery’s scientists to generate new lead compounds for their research programs to address unmet medical needs.”

HitGen has built four core technology platforms including DNA-encoded library (DEL), molecular fragment and structure design (FBDD/SBDD), synthetic therapeutic oligonucleotide (STO) and targeted protein degradation (TPD). The DEL technology platform, centered around the design, synthesis and interrogation of over one trillion component libraries of DNA-encoded small molecules, is capable of providing services and products including DEL screening, customized DEL library, OpenDEL® etc.


About Almac Discovery 

Almac Discovery is a research driven biotech company dedicated to the discovery and development of First in Class therapeutics across a range of therapeutic areas including neuroscience, muscle-wasting, oncology and inflammation. Almac Discovery focuses on the discovery to preclinical stage, seeking to licence programmes with a pharmaceutical partner for further development. 

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About HitGen Inc. 

HitGen Inc. (SSE: 688222.SH), founded in 2012, is headquartered in Chengdu, China, with subsidiaries in Cambridge, UK and Houston, USA. HitGen is committed to building a world-class innovative biopharmaceutical enterprise and contributing to the better life and health of mankind. Engaged in the discovery and optimization of small molecules and nucleic acid drugs, HitGen dedicates itself to cultivating an internationally leading drug discovery and optimization system centered on four key technology platforms, including DNA-encoded library technology (including DEL design, synthesis and screening, and application expansion), fragment-based drug discovery and structure-based drug design technologies (FBDD/SBDD), synthetic therapeutic oligonucleotide technology (STO), and targeted protein degradation technology (TPD). It provides new molecular entities (NMEs) at different stages of research and development for the pharmaceutical industry, through its diversified business models including research and development services, out-licensing of projects at different R&D stages, and new drug launches in the long term, with an aim to address unmet clinical needs with innovative therapeutic solutions. As a leader in the field of DEL technology, HitGen has been committed to the development, application and upgrade of DEL technology since its establishment. By the end of 2021, HitGen’s DELs contains more than 1.2 trillion novel, diverse, drug-like small molecules and macrocyclic compounds. These compounds are members of DELs synthesized from many thousands of distinct chemical scaffolds, designed with tractable chemistry, and have yielded proven results for the discovery of small molecule leads against precedented and unprecedented classes of biological targets. HitGen is in collaboration with pharmaceutical, biotech and chemical companies, foundations and research institutes in the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Oceania.

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