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X-Chem licenses drug discovery program to Bayer Pharma AG

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X-Chem Inc., a Waltham biotechnology company with a DNA-encoded small molecule library that has the potential for treating cancer and other diseases, has just disclosed a collaboration with drug giant Bayer Pharma AG.

The collaboration under which X-Chem is licensing its epigenetic drug discovery program to Bayer was established in July 2012, but not disclosed until now. While X-Chem said it has just achieved a milestone under its agreement with Bayer, it did not go into detail.

X-Chem has established collaborations with other large pharmaceutical companies, including a deal with AstraZeneca that was announced in October.  The terms of the AstraZeneca deal include an upfront payment and research funding and indicate that X-Chem is eligible for pre-clinical, clinical, and sales milestones in the aggregate amount of up to $26 million for each X-Chem program licensed.

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While the financial terms of the licenses with Bayer are not disclosed, they are “commensurate with terms X-Chem has established in its collaborations” with other partners, X-Chem said.

Epigenetics refers to the study of alterations in gene expression in cells. The hope is that epigenetics can be used to develop treatments that precisely target the causes of diseases.

In a statement, X-Chem chief executive Rick Wagner commented on his company’s just disclosed collaboration with Bayer.  

“We share Bayer’s mission to bring innovative treatments to patients by addressing disease areas with a high unmet medical need,” Wagner said. “Epigenetic targets are of increasing interest for treating cancer and other life-threatening disorders, yet are particularly challenging from a drug discovery perspective. X-Chem has built its library and discovery platform to meet the challenges of tackling these highly difficult targets and enabling the discovery of multiple chemical series directly out of our primary screens.”

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