Daiichi Sankyo, Max Planck Innovation GmbH and the Lead Discovery Center GmbH have signed an agreement providing Daiichi Sankyo with the option to receive the exclusive rights to a new lead compound for the treatment of cancer to be discovered and developed at the Lead Discovery Center.

This new partnership builds on biology insights in the field of transcriptional regulation from the work of Prof. Matthias Geyer at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund and the Research Center caesar (Center of Advanced European Studies and Research) in Bonn, Germany.

Combined with the Lead Discovery Center’s strong drug discovery expertise in the design of highly selective kinase inhibitors, Daiichi Sankyo, Max Planck researchers and the Lead Discovery Center will now closely co-operate to further optimise these novel compounds that target cancer cell transcription and proliferation.

Daiichi Sankyo together with the Max Planck Society, supported by Max Planck Foundation, will jointly fund the respective drug discovery efforts at the Lead Discovery Center.

Once the project has achieved proof-of-concept in relevant in vivo models, Daiichi Sankyo has the exclusive rights to license the programme at predefined terms for subsequent preclinical and clinical development.

The agreement includes an upfront payment as well as development and sales milestones plus royalties. The licensing revenues will be shared between Max Planck Society, the Lead Discovery Center and all contributing researchers and institutions.

“The Lead Discovery Center is our prime partner for innovative drug discovery projects and developing novel compounds with a high therapeutic potential from the Max Planck Institutes. This agreement with Daiichi Sankyo, a recognised leader in the development and supply of innovative pharmaceutical products, again shows the high quality of research projects driven at the Max Planck laboratories.”

“Moreover, the agreement is a great opportunity to advance the research findings into pharmaceutical development, providing potential new treatment options for patients with cancer,” according to Dr Matthias Stein-Gerlach, Patent and Licensing Manager at Max Planck Innovation, Max Planck Society’s technology transfer organisation.

“This project collaboration and option agreement is building on the excellent experiences that Daiichi Sankyo and the Lead Discovery Center previously made from a discovery alliance that started in 2014, as well as close ties and many interactions between Daiichi Sankyo and the Max Planck Society, such as the collaboration with the Axel Ullrich lab. Max Planck Innovation has been instrumental to close this partnership,” adds Dr Bert Klebl, Managing Director and CSO at the Lead Discovery Center.

“It is a great pleasure for us to start this research collaboration with Max Planck Innovation and the Lead Discovery Center to further generate innovation for our cancer drug discovery efforts,” said Antoine Yver, MD, MSc, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Oncology Research and Development, Daiichi Sankyo.

“We are excited about the integration of Max Planck Society’s high quality science and the Lead Discovery Center’s expertise in lead discovery into Daiichi Sankyo’s drug research and development platform.”

Daiichi Sankyo, the Lead Discovery Center and the Max Planck Society aim to further expand their collaboration into additional programmes in the future.