Ipsen continues to strengthen early oncology pipeline with Queen’s University Belfast collaboration and licensing agreement.

Today we are pleased to announce a partnership with the Queen’s University of Belfast (QUB), securing rights to a preclinical stage first-in-class FLIP inhibitor program, a cutting-edge drug discovery program which was supported by Wellcome. Commenting on this news Howard Mayer, EVP Head of R&D at Ipsen said, “This collaboration provides strong synergies with our recent collaboration with BAKX Therapeutics, and the opportunity to target the apoptosis (cell death) pathway to develop innovative cancer therapies. We are delighted to be working with the team at QUB as at Ipsen, we believe great partnerships create great possibilities.”

FLIP is a major apoptosis-regulatory protein that is frequently overexpressed in hematological and solid tumors (including colorectal, lung and pancreatic cancer). It has been implicated in the regulation of multiple aspects of programmed cell death and is of significant interest as a novel cancer therapeutic target. Upregulation of FLIP has been associated with tumor progression in a variety of solid and hematologic malignancies.

The academic team at QUB, led by Professors Dan Longley and Tim Harrison, have developed novel, small molecule FLIP inhibitors and used these to achieve pre-clinical proof of concept, and the priority for the team is now to progress this program towards clinical development. Professor Longley commented “Our work to date strongly supports the potential for FLIP inhibitors as therapeutic agents in multiple oncology settings. Our team is looking forward to partnering with Ipsen’s clinical and development experts, harnessing their global knowledge, expertise and networks to advance this program and bring a FLIP inhibitor to people living with cancer around the world.” Prof Harrison added “We are excited about the potential of the novel, first in class small molecule FLIP inhibitors we have been able to develop thanks to the support from Wellcome, and now are looking forward to working with Ipsen to move these molecules through the next stages of development, and ultimately into new treatments for patients.”

Dr Lynsey Bilsland, Wellcome’s Innovations Lead for the FLIP(i) program, commented “The FLIP inhibitor program is an excellent example of using novel ideas in drug discovery to try and improve cancer outcomes. We have high confidence in the Ipsen and QUB team in further developing this technology into the clinic.”

This collaboration and licensing agreement provides Ipsen with a global exclusive licence to research, develop, manufacture, and commercialize FLIP inhibitors.

At Ipsen we have a strong record of partnership with academic institutions as well as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. These collaborations provide new and exciting avenues to identify the treatments of tomorrow.

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