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these days as a discovery hothouse that pumps out molecules that partners will pick up and run with.
“We recognize where our strength is,” Tregay says.
Forma and Boehringer Ingelheim aren’t disclosing the names of some of the targets they will go after in this collaboration, although Tregay says the list includes some novel biological targets, as well as some “classic” targets that researchers have been seeking to block for years. For instance, targets like RAS and P53 are widely believed to play critical roles in cancer biology, yet no one has successfully been able to make drugs against them. Tregay wouldn’t say if those targets are part of the deal, but they would be considered “classic” targets.
Forma hasn’t worked with Boehringer Ingelheim before, but has spent years cultivating the relationship that led up to the new partnership, Tregay says. The German company, which says it has more than 40,000 employees, operates by a different set of rules than most Big Pharma companies, as it has remained privately held. That helps a company like Forma have some comfort that a four-year commitment means four years, which is no small thing in an industry where a lot of Big Pharma R&D budgets are getting cut.
“Without the pressure of being a public company, they (BI) seem to be very thoughtful about their strategy, and they identified protein/protein interactions as an area to invest heavily in. It’s a terrific fit for us,” Tregay says.
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