Strasbourg, France, December 14, 2016 – Domain Therapeutics, a France- and Quebec-based biopharmaceutical company that specializes in the research and development of new drug candidates that target G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), announces today the signing of a licensing agreement for its GPCR BioSens-All™ technology with Alkermes, a biopharmaceutical company that focuses on developing medicines for the treatment of central nervous system diseases. As per the agreement, Alkermes is entitled to use BioSens-All™ as part of its drug discovery efforts. No financial details have been disclosed.
“We are very pleased to grant the first of a limited series of non-exclusive licenses for our BioSens-All™ technology. It is a further validation of the power of this technology that is designed to increase the success rate of drug discovery,” said Pascal Neuville, chief executive officer of Domain Therapeutics. “With additional validation from our ongoing relationships with several pharmaceutical partners, we believe that BioSens-All™ is a key platform for improved candidate identification and reduced early stage attrition.”
“We are pleased to have worked with Domain Therapeutics in licensing the BioSens-AllTM technology,” said Mark Namchuk, SVP research, pharmaceutical and non-clinical development at Alkermes. “With both screening and characterization applications, we believe this technology will be a valuable tool in our discovery efforts.”
Contrary to what was previously believed, GPCRs, one of the largest and most successful classes of therapeutic targets, do not function as toggle switches that turn on or off a single cellular signaling pathway, but rather as complex biological hubs that engage multiple cellular signaling events. This paradigm shift, known as ligand-biased signaling or functional selectivity, opens promising avenues for the identification and development of better drugs; selectively activating pathways relevant to the desired therapeutic response while avoiding others responsible for undesirable effects.
The ability to understand GPCR functional selectivity obviously impacts the drug screening and profiling strategies needed to identify optimal drug candidates with correctly biased profiles. BioSens-All™ can monitor several dozen signaling pathways, in living cells, in parallel assays and in a homogeneous format. This allows the link to be made between specific signaling signatures of drug candidates and their biological effects. The BioSens-All™ technology generates and analyzes comprehensive signaling data on GPCR drug candidates, potentially accelerating the discovery and development of biased drugs.
The GPCR biosensor technology was originally developed by a team of researchers led by Prof. Michel Bouvier from the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) at the Université de Montréal, including Prof. Graciela Pineyro at the Ste-Justine Hospital research center, Dr. Christian Le Gouill at the Université de Montréal, Prof. Terry Hebert and Prof. Stéphane Laporte at McGill University, and Prof. Richard Leduc at Sherbrooke University. Domain Therapeutics acquired exclusive commercialization rights to the technology through two licensing agreements signed in 2013 and 2016.
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 and more recently cancer. 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 30% 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. BioSens-All™ technology allows the understanding of signalling pathways activated by each candidate molecule, thus predicting its pharmacological profile. This approach makes it possible at a very early stage to choose the molecules that have the potential of being active without presenting side effects or inducing tolerance to treatment.
About Domain Therapeutics
Domain Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company based in Strasbourg, France, dedicated to the discovery and early development of small molecules targeting G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs), one of the most important classes of drug targets. Domain Therapeutics identifies and develops new drug candidates, allosteric modulators and biased ligands through its innovative approach and distinctive technologies. The company provides access to its technologies through research and collaborative agreements and develops its own pipeline up to the stage of clinical candidate for major indications in the central nervous system and oncology.