Move Reflects Commitment to Drive Innovation and Develop New Therapies
Cambridge, Mass., March 8, 2010 -- Harvard University and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute announced today that they have concluded a major licensing agreement with Acetylon under which Harvard and Dana-Farber granted an exclusive therapeutic license to a robust platform technology and chemical methodology that enables high-throughput screening and lead optimization for HDAC inhibitor compounds. Under terms of the Agreement, Harvard and Dana-Farber received equity from Acetylon, and will receive downstream royalty and milestone payments.
Acetylon www.acetylon.com is a development stage Company dedicated to the clinical development and commercialization of new therapies for inflammatory disease, neurologic disease and cancer. The Company is focused on the development of potential drug candidates based on next generation Class II-selective HDAC inhibitors. The Company was founded around core technology initially developed at Dana-Farber and Harvard.
“The license granted to Acetylon underscores the commitment of Harvard University to assure that new biomedical technologies developed at Harvard are commercially developed and used to improve patient care,” said Isaac Kohlberg, Senior Associate Provost and head of Harvard’s Office of Technology Development. “As a leader in technology transfer, Harvard has an obligation, consistent with our public service mission, to help expedite the translation of new technologies from the lab to the clinic.”
“We are very pleased to have granted this license to Acetylon Pharmaceuticals. The Company’s investment to develop new therapeutics based on the technology is a fine example of academic technology transfer,” said Anthony A. del Campo, Vice President, Office of Research and Technology Ventures at Dana-Farber. “We are committed to the transfer of innovative science developed in Dana-Farber’s research laboratories into the commercial sector so that it may have an impact on relieving the worldwide burden of cancer.”
“This Agreement provides Acetylon with innovative technology and capabilities to expand our Class II-selective HDAC inhibitors program for the discovery of a new generation of potentially best-in-class drug candidates,” said Walter Ogier, Chief Executive Officer of Acetylon. “We believe that highly Class II-selective HDAC inhibitors may show enhanced clinical utility by reducing or eliminating the debilitating and sometimes life-threatening side effects associated with the current first-generation of non-selective HDAC inhibitors.”
Histone Deactylases (HDACs) were first identified in the laboratory of Dr. Stuart Schreiber, Morris Loeb Professor of Chemistry, in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University. HDACs play critical roles in the regulation of development and gene expression, and are currently a focal point in the search for new therapeutics to prevent and treat a wide variety of disorders, including cancer, neurodegeneration, and inflammation.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (www.dana-farber.org) is a principal teaching affiliate of the Harvard Medical School and is among the leading cancer research and care centers in the United States. It is a founding member of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center (DF/HCC), designated a comprehensive cancer center by the National Cancer Institute. It is the top ranked cancer center in New England, according to U.S. News & World Report, and one of the largest recipients among independent hospitals of National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health grant funding.
Acetylon Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is applying its unique capabilities to discover and develop next-generation, highly selective small molecule drugs to realize the therapeutic potential of HDAC inhibition to treat cancer, autoimmune and other diseases, while reducing the side effects common to this class of drugs. The Company is based on technology initially developed at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and at Harvard University. Acetylon’s technologies were initially discovered and developed by its scientific founders: Kenneth C. Anderson, MD, Kraft Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; James E. Bradner, MD, Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and Ralph Mazitschek, Ph.D., Instructor at Harvard Medical School and the Center for Systems Biology at Massachusetts General Hospital, in conjunction with their academic collaborators.
Walter C. Ogier
President and Chief Executive Officer
MacDougall Biomedical Communications