Nuevolution discovery platform earns $2m from Novartis; new twist in patent case against ex CSO
The Denmark-headquartered, Sweden-listed biotech licensed use of its Chemetics drug discovery platform to the Swiss pharmaceutical firm in 2014, which has used it in-house to identify novel small molecule production candidates.
Chemetics is used to perform fragment-based drug discovery. The first part of the process is the creation of a huge library of distinct small molecule compounds each of which is labelled with a DNA barcode that holds structural information about the compound.
These small molecule-DNA molecules are screened against targets. The structure of “hits” – molecules that interact with the targets - is then determined allowing for the creation of optimised candidates.
Nuevolution claims the ability to produce much larger candidate libraries than are possible using conventional drug discovery systems, combined with the ability to fine tune compounds significantly increases the efficiency of the process.
News of the Novartis payment coincided with the Danish Maritime and Commercial High Court’s decision that Nuevolution cannot raise question about the ownership of patents in an ongoing dispute with former CSO, Henrik Pedersen.
The case began in 2012 when Nuevolution filed a suit seeking to clarify the ownership of a family of technology patents it says Pedersen controls through his firm Chemgene Holding ApS.
Last December the firm told that Court it planned to raise questions about the inventor and owner listed on the disputed patent.
In response to the Court’s decision CEO Alex Haahr Gouliaev told us “we do not believe that the patent family in dispute is needed for us to operate our Chemetics technology as we do it today.
“We have a business strategic interest in the patent family that has nothing to do with the currently issued patents in the family.”
Gouliaev said Nuevolution is considering its response.
“We interpret the Court’s decision from today as: an agreement between two parties ranks higher than Danish law even if one party deceived the other party when the parties entered into the agreement. We strongly disagree, and will take further next steps needed.”