Sentinel Oncology Ltd. (Sentinel), the small molecule drug discovery company, today announced it has signed a collaboration agreement with Oncothyreon Inc. (NASDAQ: ONTY) (Oncothyreon) for development of Sentinel’s Checkpoint Kinase 1 (Chk1) programme.
Under the terms of the agreement Oncothyreon will fund additional drug discovery research at Sentinel directed at the Chk1 target, and will have an exclusive license for the development and commercialisation of any resulting compounds. Sentinel is eligible to receive pre-clinical, clinical and commercial milestone payments of up to $174M and a royalty on net sales, if any.
Sentinel has developed a series of potent, selective, orally active Chk1 kinase inhibitors as chemo- and radio-sensitizers. Chemotherapy and radiotherapy are among the most commonly used cancer treatments and work by damaging the DNA of tumour cells. The Chk1 protein performs a crucial role in the way that cancer cells respond to DNA damage and although Chk1 is active in all cells, over 50% of tumour cells have partially disrupted DNA repair mechanisms and are therefore much more reliant on Chk1. Consequently, inhibition of Chk1 has been shown to selectively sensitise tumour cells to DNA damaging agents, enabling effective lower doses of chemo- and radiotherapy, and reduction in associated side-effects.
Robert L. Kirkman, M.D., President and CEO, Oncothyreon, said: “We are pleased to add to our oncology pipeline through this collaboration with Sentinel. Selective inhibitors of Chk1 have implications across a broad range of cancer types and we believe this programme has the potential to make a positive impact on the lives of many cancer patients.”
Bob Boyle, CEO, Sentinel, commented: “We are delighted that Oncothyreon has recognised the value of our Chk1 programme. It is an exciting target, and we look forward to capitalising on Oncothyreon’s expertise in order to drive the programme forward into clinical studies.”