HitGen-DNA Encoded Library-Drug Discovery

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HitGen announces License Agreement with Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ USA to access compounds for potential development of a novel class of drugs

Release Time:2020-12-21    Information Sources:HitGen

Chengdu, CHINA, December 21th 2020 HitGen Inc. is pleased to announce that HitGen and Merck & Co., Inc., Kenilworth, NJ USA, known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, expand their collaboration with a license to develop a novel class of drugs for an early target of high interest.

The licensed compounds were identified using HitGen’s leading technology platform, which involved screening DNA encoded libraries (DEL), containing over 500 billion encoded syntheses for small molecules with drug-like properties, assembled on a broad range of structurally diverse scaffolds. Several novel small molecule lead series with novel profiles for an undisclosed target nominated by Merck & Co., Inc Kenilworth, NJ USA are the subject of this license.

Under the terms of the collaboration agreement, HitGen will grant exclusive rights to Merck & Co., Inc Kenilworth, NJ USA to develop and commercialize the licensed compounds. HitGen will be eligible for preclinical and clinical milestone payments as the project progresses, in addition to a license fee.

Today’s announcement marks another significant milestone in the long-lasting collaboration between Merck & Co., Inc Kenilworth, NJ USA and HitGen initiated in 2016 and expanded in 2018.

“We are delighted to announce another license from our collaboration with Merck & Co., Inc Kenilworth, NJ USA. The success of delivery of these licensed compounds has further demonstrated the power of our DEL platform to discover novel small molecules against a variety of targets, including those previously deemed challenging for small molecule modalities. In this case the target may be characterized as a protease class that has proved challenging for small molecule discovery. One of the many advantages of DEL is the ability to span chemical space based on elaboration of novel scaffolds, designed without any bias for structures perceived to be ligands based on earlier studies, allowing facile discovery of assets with unprecedented structures and novel biochemical profiles. The current achievement marks the continued progress and success of the discovery collaboration between the companies, spanning a range of discovery programs. We look forward to announcing future milestones as the programs progress.” said Dr. Jin Li, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of HitGen.

To date HitGen has initiated screening efforts on multiple Merck & Co Inc., Kenilworth NJ USA discovery programs. These programs are at various stages of screening, selection, synthesis, and validation. The financial terms of the license are not disclosed.

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About HitGen Inc.


HitGen Inc is a rapidly developing biotech company headquartered in Chengdu, China, with subsidiaries in Cambridge, UK and Houston, USA. It became a publicly listed company in Shanghai Stock Exchange in April 2020 (ticker code 688222.SH).  HitGen has established a drug discovery research platform centered on the design, synthesis and screening of DNA encoded chemical libraries (DELs), fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) and structure-based drug design (SBDD) technologies. HitGen's DELs currently contains more than 500 billion novel, diverse, drug-like small molecules and macrocyclic compounds. These compounds are members of DELs synthesized from many hundreds 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 its acquisition of Cambridge UK based Vernalis R&D Ltd,a leader in FBDD/SBDD, HitGen now has a research team of over 500 scientists and offers a full set of research capabilities from recombinant protein expression, structural biology, assay development, screening, DEL synthesis, nucleic acid and small molecule chemical synthesis, computational and medicinal chemistry, biochemistry and biophysics, cell biology, in vivo pharmacology, DMPK, CMC, etc., to enable drug discovery research from target gene to IND filing.


HitGen operates a flexible business model, ranging from a single capability-based fee for services (FFS), DEL screening, custom compound and library synthesis, computational and medicinal chemistry, integrated drug discovery projects, risk sharing projects, collaborative ventures to program out-licensing. HitGen has approximately 20 in-house drug discovery programs. HitGen is collaborating with pharmaceutical, biotech and chemical companies, foundations and research institutes in North America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia to enable the discovery and development of novel medicines and agrochemicals.


For more information, please call +86-28-85197385, +1-508-840-9646 or visit www.hitgen.com.

For media inquiries:media@hitgen.com 

For investor inquiries:investors@hitgen.com

For business development:bd@hitgen.com

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