Oncology Drug Research Program Based on MUNI Know-how Continues with Global Pharmaceutical Company

Artios Pharma Ltd. and Merck KGaA announced a global three year research collaboration to discover and develop multiple precision oncology drugs. Pharmaceutical companies will use the results of cooperation with Masaryk University.

8 Dec 2020

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Two years ago, Masaryk University entered into a license agreement with Artios Pharma Ltd. dealing with the development of new treatments for cancer. This license agreement enabled the cooperation of the university and important investment partner in research focused on the inhibition of nucleases by patented compounds, which were created in the laboratories of scientific teams of Kamil Paruch and Lumir Krejci from the Faculty of Science and Faculty of Medicine MU and FNUSA-ICRC.

The developed compounds are able to inhibit nucleases, enzymes involved in the repair of damaged DNA (DDR - DNA Damage Response). Blocking this process in cancer cells leads to their destruction. Therefore, these compounds can have a wide potential in the treatment of a range of tumors.

The several years of cooperation enabled to make promising progress in the development of drugs for cancer related to DNA damage. Artios Pharma helped the program financially, also with professional expertise.

The goal of the announced collaboration between Artios and Merck is to develop several drugs with a targeted mechanism based on the principle of DDR. As part of the agreement, Artios will receive from Merck US$30 million in the form of an up-front and near-term payments. The payment will provide additional funding for research where the university has made a significant contribution.

“This step is a very important milestone in the whole project. Only large pharmaceutical companies, as Merck KGaA are able to bring new drugs through all phases of clinical trials and to market. The results of our work are enough attractive for a global pharmaceutical company -iIt is a great satisfaction for us, "said Paruch and Krejci, scientists.

 "The exclusive license agreement between Masaryk university and Artios signed two years ago was one of the most important deals that the Technology Transfer Office helped prepare. If the research with new partner result in an innovative range of drugs in the coming years, Masaryk University will receive significant revenues, "commented Radoslav Trautmann, Head of Masaryk University's Technology Transfer Department.



About Artios Pharma Limited

Artios is a leading DNA Damage Response (DDR) company focused on developing first-in-class treatments for cancer. The Company was found in 2016, led by an experienced scientific and leadership team with proven expertise in DDR drug discovery. It has a unique partnership with Cancer Research UK (CRUK) and the world's leading researchers in the field of DNA damage repair.

About Merck KGaA

Merck, a leading science and technology company, operates across healthcare, life science and performance materials. From advancing gene editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases to enabling the intelligence of devices.

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