STRASBOURG AND MONTRÉAL, Dec. 18, 2013 /PRNewswire/ - Domain Therapeutics, a France-based biopharmaceutical company that specializes in the research and development of new drug candidates that target G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs), is pleased to announce the signing of a licensing and partnership agreement on GPCR biosensor technology with Université de Montréal (UdeM) and its commercialization unit, with the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer - Commercialization of Research (IRICoR), as well as with McGill University.
The GPCR biosensor technology was developed with the support of a grant from the Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery (CQDM), whose mission is to fund breakthrough technologies with the financial support of major pharma companies. This project was overseen by a team of researchers from UdeM's Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) led by Dr. Michel Bouvier. Dr. Bouvier is internationally renowned for his work on GPCRs.
The agreement gives Domain Therapeutics co-exclusive access, with AstraZeneca, Merck and Pfizer having access via their participation in the CQDM, to biosensor technology developed by Dr. Bouvier's team. This new approach, which makes it possible to discriminate the functional activation of intracellular signalling pathways associated with GPCRs, is considered a prime technology for accelerating the discovery and development of biased ligands for this class of receptors.
In addition, Domain Therapeutics will offer a unique service in profiling drug candidates for the pharma and biotech industries. Domain Therapeutics also leverages a screening platform called DTect-All™, designed to discover innovative drugs that target GPCRs. By combining the two technologies, Domain Therapeutics can discover and optimize more effective non-toxic therapeutic candidates for its internal programs and for collaborative programs with industry partners.
The biosensor technology already covers more than twenty signaling pathways and, under the terms of the agreement, a partnership will also be set up for the joint development of additional biosensors. IRIC researchers and their colleagues from UdeM, McGill University and Université de Sherbrooke will contribute their research expertise in molecular pharmacology.
"This technology, which is unique in the world, strengthens our capacity to discover the drugs of tomorrow, more effective and also safer," says Pascal Neuville, Chief Executive Officer of Domain Therapeutics. "The scientific quality of Dr. Michel Bouvier's lab and his international reputation offer our company tremendous expertise in the future use of this technology."
"The combination of our innovative approaches leading to a joint project that brings together our complementary expertise is extremely good news, since improving the efficacy of existing drugs and developing new drugs require establishing innovative partnerships like this one with Domain Therapeutics," notes Michel Bouvier, principal investigator at IRIC and CEO of IRICoR.
Under the terms of the agreement with the UdeM, Domain Therapeutics will make an upfront payment on signing. The company will also pay an annual access fee for the technology, as well as royalties on income earned from sales of screening services and sales of drugs resulting from its own research and partnership activities. Domain Therapeutics will also provide financial support for the discovery of new biosensors.
"We welcome this highly promising partnership to develop the drugs of tomorrow between Domain Therapeutics and a seasoned team from our University, led by Michel Bouvier, an international expert in basic molecular pharmacology research and an innovative mind," says Geneviève Tanguay, Vice-Rector of Research, Creation and Innovation at the Université de Montréal.
"McGill University has a proud history of innovation and product development in numerous fields, especially the life sciences," states Dr. Rose Goldstein, McGill's Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations). "We very much look forward to continuing this tradition through our partnership with Domain Therapeutics and Université de Montréal - a collaboration that has the potential to create new and better treatments for patients."
About G-protein coupled receptors and biosensor technology
G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) belong to the family of membrane receptors and constitute one of the main classes of therapeutic targets for many indications of the central nervous system, metabolic disorders and cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary or gastrointestinal diseases. The binding of a hormone or a specific ligand to a receptor's binding site activates one or several pathways for intracellular signalling, which enables the cell to provide an adapted response to the change in its environment. The many drugs that target GPCRs represent about 40% of all treatments on the market, but only address 15% of GPCRs. Industry scientists in the sector are now researching treatments that work on the remaining 85% of GPCRs, treatments better adapted to patients' physiology and with fewer risks of side effects. The molecules in question are called allosteric modulators and biased ligands. Biosensor technology enables us to understand the signalling pathways that are activated by each candidate molecule and thus predict its pharmacological profile. This approach makes it possible to choose at a very early development stage the molecule(s) that have the best chance of being active without presenting side effects or inducing tolerance to treatment.
SOURCE Université de Montréal