Daiichi Sankyo signs data deal for anti-cancer therapies

By Flora Southey

- Last updated on GMT

Daiichi Sankyo will receive exclusive access to DarwinHealth’s cancer database to identify potential targets for anti-cancer drug development.

Under the research agreement, New York-headquartered DarwinHealth will provide Daiichi Sankyo access to its data for a predetermined amount of time.

DarwinHealth CEO Gideon Bosker said the deal aims to identify novel, high-value cancer targets.

These can “subsequently be prioritised and undergo rigorous experimental validation to drive drug development for a new generation of anti-cancer therapies that would be designed, developed, and owned by Daiichi Sankyo,” ​he said.

DarwinHealth will receive an upfront payment from the Japan-headquartered firm – details of which were not disclosed – as well as potential development and commercialisation milestone payments.

Database tech

DarwinHealth’s technology employs biology-based algorithms to match cancer patients with drugs and drug combinations.

“These same algorithms also can prioritize investigational drugs and compound combinations of unknown potential against a full spectrum of human malignancies, as well as novel cancer targets,” ​said Bosker.

For this agreement, novel cancer targets will be selected and prioritised based on their role as either ‘Master Regulators’ or their most specific ‘Master Regulator Upstream Modulators’ – necessary for cancer cell maintenance – within a tumour-specific checkpoint module, co-founder Andrea Califano explained.

“Therefore, they are expected to represent highly valuable targets for anti-tumour therapy, cancer drug design, and preclinical development,” ​he added.

Large molecule investments

The agreement marks the latest in a number of recent investments made by Daiichi Sankyo in the biologics space.

In April last year, the firm announced plans​ to spend ¥15b ($135m) on manufacturing lines in three Japanese facilities, to support its antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) pipeline.

In October, 2017, Daiichi Sankyo signed​ an option agreement to develop and commercialise Glycotyope’s investigational ADC PankoMab-GEX.

And last month, we reported​ the company would pay contract development and manufacturing organisation (CDMO) Hitachi Chemical Therapeutics Solutions to make its investigational regenerative medicine for the Japanese market.

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