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16 October, 2021 - 20:55 By Tony Quested

STORM Therapeutics earns $17m upfront from US cancer deal

Cambridge epigenetics specialist STORM Therapeutics is set to earn a lucrative payback from a US alliance designed to discover novel cancer drugs.

Nasdaq-quoted Californian company Exelixis has agreed an exclusive alliance with STORM to discover and develop Inhibitors of novel RNA modifying enzymes to treat cancer. 

The collaboration will focus initially on ADAR1, advancing early work by STORM applying its proprietary RNA epigenetic platform, as well as explore an additional undisclosed target.

Epigenetics is the study of how your behaviours and environment can cause changes that affect the way your genes work. Unlike genetic changes, epigenetic changes are reversible and do not change your DNA sequence, but they can change how your body reads a DNA sequence.

Under the terms of the transatlantic deal, Exelixis will pay STORM an upfront fee of $17 million in exchange for licensing two of STORM’s discovery programs targeting RNA modifying enzymes, including ADAR1, as well as provide funding for discovery research activities conducted or managed by STORM. 

Exelixis will be solely responsible for global development, manufacturing and commercialisation activities of any resulting molecules. STORM will be eligible for development, regulatory and commercialisation milestones as well as tiered royalties on the annual net sales of any compounds successfully commercialised under the collaboration.

Keith Blundy, director and CEO of STORM Therapeutics said: “STORM has established industry-leading expertise and know-how through ground-breaking research on the discovery of small molecule therapies targeting RNA-modifying enzymes.

“This collaboration with Exelixis validates the significant value of our technology platform and expanding pipeline. Exelixis has a proven history of success in the discovery, development and commercialisation of innovative small molecule cancer therapies to provide patients with clinically meaningful treatment options.

“Access to Exelixis’ development expertise and funding will enable more rapid advancement of our ADAR1 discovery program, as well as other target activities under the collaboration.”

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