Technology provides access to new generation of sensitive biosensors to enhance drug discovery
Domain Therapeutics, a France- and Quebec-based biopharmaceutical company that specializes in the research and development of new drug candidates that target transmembrane receptors, today announces the signing of a licensing agreement for its bioSens-All™ technology with Bristol-Myers Squibb, a global biopharmaceutical company whose mission is to discover, develop and deliver innovative medicines that help patients prevail over serious diseases. Bristol-Myers Squibb will make an upfront payment for access to the technology, with additional payments on identification of development candidates. Further financial elements of the license were not disclosed.
“Following our strategy of granting a limited series of licenses, we are very pleased to grant Bristol-Myers Squibb a non-exclusive license for our bioSens-All™ technology. Through the work done using the technology on a wide variety of targets and in a wide range of indications, this agreement will fit well with its goal of delivering innovative medicines in key disease areas,” said Pascal Neuville, chief executive officer of Domain Therapeutics. “By generating a better understanding of what happens when a molecule binds to a target, we believe that bioSens-All™ is a key platform for improved candidate identification and reduced early stage attrition.”
Contrary to that previously believed, G protein-couple receptors (GPCRs), one of the largest and most successful classes of therapeutic targets, do not function as toggle switches turning on or off a single cellular signaling pathway, but rather as complex biological hubs engaging multiple cellular signaling events. This paradigm shift, known as ligand-biased signaling or functional selectivity, opens promising avenues for the identification and development of better drugs; selectively activating pathways relevant to the desired therapeutic response whilst avoiding others responsible for undesirable effects.
bioSens-All™ technology generates and analyzes comprehensive signaling data on GPCR drug candidates, potentially accelerating the discovery and development of biased drugs. It can monitor several dozen signaling pathways, in living cells, in parallel assays and in a homogeneous format. This allows the link to be made between specific signaling signatures of drug candidates and their biological effects.
GPCR biosensor technology was originally developed by a team of researchers led by Prof. Michel Bouvier from the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC) at the University of Montreal, including Prof. Graciela Pineyro at the Ste-Justine Hospital research center, Dr. Christian Le Gouill at the University of Montreal, Prof. Terry Hebert and Prof. Stéphane Laporte at McGill University and Prof. Richard Leduc at Sherbrooke University. Domain Therapeutics acquired exclusive commercialization rights to the technology through two licensing agreements signed in 2013 and 2016.
About G protein-coupled receptors and biosensor technology
G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) belong to the family of membrane receptors. They constitute one of the main classes of therapeutic targets for many indications of the central nervous system, metabolic disorders and cardiovascular, respiratory, urinary or gastrointestinal diseases and, more recently, cancer. The binding of a hormone or a specific ligand to a receptor’s binding site activates one or several pathways for intracellular signalling. This enables the cell to provide an adapted response to the change in its environment. The many drugs that target GPCRs represent about 30% of all treatments on the market, but only address 15% of GPCRs. Industry scientists in the sector are now researching treatments that work on the remaining 85%; treatments better adapted to patients’ physiology with fewer risks of side effects. The molecules are called allosteric modulators and biased ligands. bioSens-All™ technology allows the understanding of signalling pathways activated by each candidate molecule, thus predicting its pharmacological profile. This approach makes it possible at a very early stage to choose the molecules that have the potential to be active without presenting side effects or inducing tolerance to treatment.