Boehringer Ingelheim and Epizyme Announce Global Collaboration to Develop New Epigenetic Therapies in Oncology


CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts and INGELHEIM, Germany – (COMMERCIAL THREAD) – Boehringer Ingelheim and Epizyme, Inc. (Nasdaq: EPZM) today announced a new global collaboration focused on the research, development and commercialization of novel small molecule inhibitors directed at two previously untreated epigenetic targets as potential therapies for people with cancer. More specifically, these targets are enzymes of the helicase and histone acetyltransferase (HAT) families which, when deregulated, have been linked to the development of cancers that currently lack therapeutic options.

“Boehringer Ingelheim’s collaboration with Epizyme strengthens our strategic vision to have a profound impact on the oncology treatment landscape by enabling a new generation of precision drugs,” said Clive R. Wood, Ph.D., vice president Company Principal, Discovery Research, Boehringer Ingelheim. “We are delighted to launch this partnership with Epizyme and to work with them to advance epigenetic inhibitors that have the potential to transform patients’ lives and help win the fight against hard-to-treat cancers. ”

Epigenetic modification affects the way genes are biologically regulated. More than half of cancers can result from functional errors in epigenetic modification. In specific cases, epigenetic deregulation is associated with alterations in specific components of gene regulation, which can be used to identify patients most likely to benefit from therapy. What makes the two targets attractive is not only the clear role they play in cancer, but also the fact that both targets have patient stratification biomarkers, which will allow focusing on the patients. most likely to benefit from these potential treatments. Epizyme is a leader in the discovery of the roles of these enzymes and their development as therapeutic targets.

“This partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim to develop treatments for two novel epigenetic targets, which have historically been considered to be out of control, further validates the promise of epigenetics for oncology and our pioneering leadership in this area,” said Robert Bazemore, President and Chief Executive Officer of Epizyme. “By combining our innovative target identification and research capabilities with Boehringer Ingelheim’s world-class drug development and commercialization expertise, we aim to realize the full potential of these targets and our platform, while continuing to focus on executing the development of our core program in several ongoing and planned clinical trials.

The collaboration has a strategic goal of focusing on lung cancers and other solid tumors in patients with defined mutations, subpopulations that currently lack precision medicine treatments. Under the terms of the agreement, Boehringer Ingelheim and Epizyme will jointly research and develop a helicase program, with the two parties sharing marketing responsibilities in the United States and Boehringer Ingelheim assuming responsibility for marketing outside of the United States. Epizyme and Boehringer Ingelheim will share research responsibilities for the HAT program, with Boehringer Ingelheim assuming responsibility for global development and commercialization.

Epizyme will receive an upfront payment of $ 15 million and additional funding of $ 5 million for research in 2019. Epizyme is eligible to receive more than $ 280 million in additional payments for research, development, regulatory milestones and commercial. For the helicase program, Epizyme will fund a portion of global development costs, retain a portion of US profits, and receive tiered royalties on sales outside the US. For the HAT program, Epizyme is eligible to receive tiered royalties on worldwide sales.

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