X-Chem forges another discovery deal, this time with Vertex

The cystic fibrosis specialist Vertex signed a drug discovery pact with Waltham, MA-based X-Chem.

In the deal, which comes with an unspecified set milestones and an upfront, X-Chem will put its library of “120 billion small molecules” to work in search of rare genetic disease drugs for Vertex, which is looking down the line to growing its pipeline beyond cystic fibrosis.

There’s an option to expand the pact at a later point. And gazing well into the future, X-Chem also has a shot at royalties on any approved products that come out of the pact.

The Waltham company has inked a long lineup of research pacts with a who’s who in the industry, including Roche, AstraZeneca, Bayer, Pfizer, Alexion, MD Anderson Cancer Center, Sanofi and J&J. Over just the last few months it’s set up deals with Ono, Astellas and Janssen.

“As Vertex continues to grow and diversify its R&D pipeline, we look to complement our productive internal efforts with other organizations who share our passion to treat diseases for which there is no existing treatment,” said Mark Bunnage, SVP and Boston research site head at Vertex. “With a cutting-edge small molecule lead discovery platform, X-Chem is ideally suited to help Vertex tackle challenging rare-disease targets.”

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