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Catalan firm Oryzon to receive $21 millions from Roche to develop epigenetics drugs

The agreement spans research and marketing of LSD1 inhibitors for oncology, hematology and other diseases

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Catalan company Oryzon Genomics and Roche pharmaceutical corporation have announced a global collaboration agreement to research, develop and market epigenetics-based medicines. Specifically, they will be based on inhibitors of LSD1, an epigenetic modulator that regulates gene expression and is used in oncology, hematology and other diseases. The agreement was announced in an event at the CEOE headquarters in Madrid in which Asebio also participated.

Oryzon’s lead molecule, ORY-1001 for Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), received orphan drug designation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in summer of 2013 and is currently in phase I/IIA. Under the agreement announced today, Roche will have sole responsibility for developing and marketing this drug and/or any possible backup compounds.

Moreover, the collaboration agreement also includes licensing of Oryzon’s two patent families from LSD1 research, as well as an initial two-year collaborative research program between the Catalan biotech firm and the Roche research and development center in New York.

Oryzon will receive an upfront payment and near-term milestone payments totaling $21 millions. Further down the line, the company could receive payments of up to $500 millions for clinical and commercial milestones, plus royalties tied to drug sales.

Based in Cornellà de Llobregat, Oryzon Genomics was founded in 2000 as an epigenetics-based biotechnology company. Since then, they have focused on the potential of LSD1 inhibitors to fight Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s. They have also created a powerful technology platform to identify biomarkers.

In June, Oryzon will join the Catalan delegation to BIO San Diego 2014, the most important biotechnology convention in the world.

More information is available in the official press release.

Carlos Buesa, CEO of Oryzon Genomics. - Photo: © Oryzon

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