Cambridge UK, and Boston, US, 5 September 2022 – Vernalis Research (“Vernalis”), a fully owned subsidiary of HitGen Inc., and Unison Medicines Inc. (“Unison”) are pleased to announce a research collaboration on an undisclosed bacterial target.
Under the terms of the agreement, Vernalis will use its expertise in drug discovery to design small molecules against this particularly challenging target, which has long been considered to be undruggable. Unison will finance all activities at Vernalis and Vernalis will be entitled to receive downstream milestones and royalties should the compounds from the collaboration progress further into development and commercialization. As part of the agreement, Vernalis has also invested in Unison’s first round of financing.
Dr. Mike Wood, Managing Director of Vernalis, said: “We are extremely pleased to work with Unison on this promising and difficult bacterial target. This collaboration demonstrates once again that Vernalis is an attractive partner for biotech and pharma companies facing challenges in drug discovery. And the investment in Unison’s financing round demonstrates the flexibility of our business model and the willingness to share the risk with our partners. We are looking forward to a successful collaboration with Unison."
Doug Witt, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Unison, said: "We are delighted to begin our collaboration with Vernalis. The team at Vernalis has an unmatched track record against difficult targets and we are confident that together we are positioned for success. The investment in this project by Vernalis and others demonstrates the opportunity we see in tackling the Anti-Microbial Resistance problem with highly innovative approaches."
Dr. Jin Li, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of HitGen Inc., commented: "I am very pleased to see Vernalis and Unison enter this collaboration, which reflects Vernalis’ deep expertise and experience in FBDD/SBDD field to solve challenging problems in drug discovery research. Since Vernalis became part of HitGen at the end of 2020, the research teams from Vernalis and HitGen Chengdu have been working closely to advance the synergistic opportunities of the DEL and FBDD/SBDD technology platforms. I believe that the collaboration between Vernalis and Unison will mark important progress in our concerted efforts, and I wish the collaboration every success in this very important area of healthcare."
Unison Medicines, Inc. is a discovery stage pharmaceutical company headquartered in Cambridge, MA. In 2022, Unison closed its first round of financing led by industry veterans and institutions. Unison is focused exclusively on the development of small molecule medicines against novel targets that provide a radically different approach to treating bacterial infection.
For information about Vernalis visit: www.vernalis.com
About HitGen Inc.
HitGen Inc. (SSE: 688222.SH), founded in 2012, is headquartered in Chengdu, China, with subsidiaries in Cambridge, UK and Houston, USA. HitGen is committed to building a world-class innovative biopharmaceutical enterprise and contributing to the better life and health of mankind. Engaged in the discovery and optimization of small molecules and nucleic acid drugs, HitGen dedicates itself to cultivating an internationally leading drug discovery and optimization system centered on four key technology platforms, including DNA-encoded library technology (including DEL design, synthesis and screening, and application expansion), fragment-based drug discovery and structure-based drug design technologies (FBDD/SBDD), synthetic therapeutic oligonucleotide technology (STO), and targeted protein degradation technology (TPD). It provides new molecular entities (NMEs) at different stages of research and development for the pharmaceutical industry, through its diversified business models including research and development services, out-licensing of projects at different R&D stages, and new drug launches in the long term, with an aim to address unmet clinical needs with innovative therapeutic solutions. As a leader in the field of DEL technology, HitGen has been committed to the development, application and improvement of DEL technology since its establishment. By June 30, 2022, HitGen's DELs contains more than 1.2 trillion novel, diverse, drug-like small molecules and macrocyclic compounds. These compounds are members of DELs synthesized from many thousands of distinct chemical scaffolds, designed with tractable chemistry, and have yielded proven results for the discovery of small molecule leads against precedented and unprecedented classes of biological targets. Through systematic DEL compound design, HitGen DELs has involved the use of more than 6000 different types of chemical scaffolds, which includes most of the core scaffolds of currently approved small-molecule drugs and many privileged scaffolds of small-molecules in clinical trials, and the approximately 40,000 different building blocks. HitGen has approximately 20 in-house drug discovery projects at different stages of research and development, among which 4 have obtained IND approvals and entered into clinical trials. HitGen is in collaboration with pharmaceutical, biotech and chemical companies, foundations and research institutes in the Americas, Asia, Europe, Africa, and Oceania.
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