Issue Date: July 27, 2009
Leukemia Society Enlists Start-Up Firm
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has enlisted Cambridge, Mass.-based Forma Therapeutics to help push several research projects into clinical trials. Forma will use its structure-based drug design technology to optimize and prioritize 10 small-molecule drug candidates discovered by LLS-funded academic researchers.
"With its sophisticated technology suite and internal expertise to expeditiously progress the development of novel therapies, Forma is an ideal partner to help LLS identify and optimize the most promising drug candidates and to achieve our mission of advancing life-saving blood cancer therapeutics," says LLS CEO John Walter.
Forma was launched earlier this year after three scientists from the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard University—Stuart L. Schreiber, Todd R. Golub, and Michael A. Foley—received $25 million in funding from the Novartis Option Fund and Bio*One Capital of Singapore. The scientists have developed a computational platform that uses small-molecule fragments to study protein folds and binding sites. They say the technology can be used to help predict whether a molecule makes a good drug or to optimize a molecule to make it a better drug.
LLS is funding the collaboration with Forma through its Therapy Acceleration Program, a vehicle established in 2007 to support for-profit enterprises that could speed the transition of potential leukemia and lymphoma treatments from the research lab to the marketplace. The program is part of a growing trend for non-profit firms to take a more results-driven approach to partnering with biotech companies (C&EN, May 7, 2007, page 19).
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