[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 18-Jun-2012
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Contact: Steve Yozwiak
syozwiak@tgen.org
602-343-8704
The Translational Genomics Research Institute

FORMA Therapeutics teams with TGen Drug Development

Organizational synergies will create transformative cancer therapies

WATERTOWN, Mass., and SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. – June 18, 2012 – FORMA Therapeutics and TGen Drug Development (TD2) today announced an agreement to jointly develop transformative cancer therapies, leveraging the synergistic capabilities of both organizations.

TD2 is a subsidiary of the Phoenix-based Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen), a world-renowned biomedical research institute.

FORMA and TD2 also announced that Daniel D. Von Hoff, M.D., F.A.C.P., TGen's Distinguished Professor and Physician-in-Chief, and Stephen Gately, Ph.D., President and Chief Scientific Officer at TD2, will serve as clinical advisors to FORMA.

FORMA Therapeutics targets essential cancer pathways to create transformative, small molecule cancer therapies. Its focus on early identification of potent tool compounds helps facilitate target validation, enabling the creation of a robust pipeline of new therapies in areas such as tumor metabolism, protein-protein interactions and epigenetics.

TD2's mission is to facilitate innovative drug development and move new, targeted compounds to patients as quickly as possible. TD2 applies cutting-edge preclinical tools, streamlined and efficient regulatory processes and unique, targeted clinical trial designs and strategies. The combination of cutting-edge science, clinical development expertise and access to patients will accelerate the development of new agents for patients.

"I am excited about the potential of this relationship between FORMA and TD2," said Dr. Von Hoff. "It will accelerate the creation of new molecules that could be placed in research programs, such as our US Oncology Research Phase I program, further accelerating development and getting the right treatment to the right patient as soon as possible."

"TD2 brings preclinical and clinical development capabilities to FORMA, filling the missing piece in our strategy to become a fully-integrated research and development organization, leading the creation of breakthrough medicines for cancer patients," said Steven Tregay, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of FORMA. "We welcome Drs. Von Hoff and Gately as advisors and their unprecedented experience and networks in oncology drug development."

"FORMA's pioneering approach to oncology small molecule drug discovery has been prolific in tackling intractable targets and establishing industry partnerships," said Dr. Von Hoff. "We look forward to bringing the experience of our team to the FORMA team to guide its discovery programs and develop these important new drugs for patients."

TD2 has helped transition more than 40 companies from discovery to clinical development over the past five years, and TD2 has collective experience in performing clinical studies on more than 400 new anti-cancer agents.

"Our oncology discovery programs span more than 30 drug targets per year, and we need a partner to help direct the right drugs to the right patient groups," said Kenneth Bair, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Head of Research and Development of FORMA. "The TD2 team provides unique access to genetically selected patient populations that will help us both discover and test personalized therapeutics."

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About Daniel Von Hoff, M.D., F.A.C.P., TGen Physician-in-Chief, TD2 Senior Investigator

Daniel D. Von Hoff, M.D., F.A.C.P., is Physician-in-Chief, Distinguished Professor and Director of the Clinical Translational Research Division at the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) in Phoenix, Ariz. He is also Chief Scientific Officer for US Oncology Research and for Scottsdale Healthcare's Clinical Research Institute. He holds an appointment as Professor of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale, Ariz.

Dr. Von Hoff's major interest is in the development of new anticancer agents, both in the clinic and in the laboratory. He and his colleagues were involved in the beginning of the development of many of the agents we now use routinely, including: mitoxantrone, fludarabine, paclitaxel, docetaxel, gemcitabine, irinotecan, nelarabine, capecitabine, lapatinib, vismodegib, and others. At present, he and his colleagues are concentrating on the development of molecularly targeted therapies particularly for patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Dr. Von Hoff has published more than 569 papers, 135 book chapters and more than 1,000 abstracts. Dr. Von Hoff received the 2010 David A. Karnofsky Memorial Award from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) for his outstanding contributions to cancer research leading to significant improvement in patient care.

Dr. Von Hoff was appointed to President Bush's National Cancer Advisory Board in 2004-2010. Dr. Von Hoff is the past President of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR, the world's largest cancer research organization), a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, and a member and past board member of ASCO. He is a founder of ILEX™ Oncology Inc. (acquired by Genzyme after Ilex had 2 agents, alemtuzumab and clofarabine, approved by the FDA for patients with leukemia). Dr. Von Hoff is founder and the Editor Emeritus of Investigational New Drugs - The Journal of New Anticancer Agents and former Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Cancer Therapeutics. He is a co-founder of the AACR/ASCO Methods in Clinical Cancer Research Workshop. He is also proud to have been a mentor and teacher for multiple medical students, medical oncology fellows, graduate students, and post-doctoral fellows.

About Stephen Gately, Ph.D., President, Chief Scientific Officer, TD2

Dr. Stephen Gately obtained his Ph.D. from McGill University in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. Thereafter he joined the Department of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine as Research Assistant Professor, where his research focused on the identification and development of pharmacologic and endogenous inhibitors of angiogenesis. During this time, Dr. Gately served as a consultant to the Oncology Clinical Research Team at Searle/Monsanto (now Pfizer). In this position, he was responsible for scientific and technical input on clinical trial designs to rapidly assess the utility of antiangiogenic compounds. Additional responsibilities included interacting with discovery scientists to understand drug mechanism of action to aid in the identification of potential biomarkers for early clinical proof of drug activity studies. He then joined the oncology-focused biopharmaceutical company NeoPharm, where he served as Executive Director of Translational Medicine. In this position, Dr. Gately had responsibility for the design and implementation of basic and clinical research studies to enhance the scientific understanding and positioning of existing products and development candidates. Dr. Gately then served as a consultant to Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Medical and Scientific Affairs group, where he was responsible for the scientific integration of non-clinical, clinical and regulatory data on portfolio compounds for optimal commercial planning. In addition, he was involved in the scientific due diligence for oncology new business development opportunities. Dr. Gately is currently President and Chief Scientific Officer at TGen Drug Development (TD2).

About FORMA Therapeutics

FORMA Therapeutics targets essential cancer pathways to create transformative small molecule cancer therapies. FORMA's novel approach to accessing high value drug targets, many of which pose significant challenges to conventional discovery approaches, leverages the integration of its innovative drug discovery technologies and oncology expertise, enabling efficient screening, discovery and rational development of small molecule drug candidates with qualified cellular mechanisms of action. FORMA is building a robust pipeline of cancer therapies in areas such as tumor metabolism, protein-protein interactions and epigenetics. FORMA is headquartered in Watertown, Mass. http://www.formatherapeutics.com

About TD2

TGen Drug Development (TD2) is an oncology drug development organization and a wholly owned subsidiary of the Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen). TD2 provides innovative services for oncology focused biopharmaceutical companies using a dedicated team of professionals with broad experience and understanding in drug development. TD2 is uniquely positioned to support the need for improved and accelerated development of new chemical entities (NCEs) for life-threatening diseases. TD2 uses a unique combination of experience gained through its contract research organization business, and an integrated suite of proprietary and non-proprietary tools, preclinical study execution, regulatory affairs assistance, clinical trial design and management, and drug development experts to successfully move therapeutics towards regulatory approval. TD2 is dedicated to reducing the risks and uncertainty inherent in the drug development process. For more information, visit http://www.td2.org.

About TGen

The Translational Genomics Research Institute (TGen) is a Phoenix, Arizona-based non-profit organization dedicated to conducting groundbreaking research with life changing results. Research at TGen is focused on helping patients with diseases such as cancer, neurological disorders and diabetes. TGen is on the cutting edge of translational research where investigators are able to unravel the genetic components of common and complex diseases. Working with collaborators in the scientific and medical communities, TGen believes it can make a substantial contribution to the efficiency and effectiveness of the translational process. For more information, visit: http://www.tgen.org.

About US Oncology Research

Supported by McKesson Specialty Health, http://www.mckessonspecialtyhealth.com, and The US Oncology Network, http://www.usoncology.com/, US Oncology Research draws from a network of experienced investigators and dedicated clinical staff who specialize in Phase I through Phase IV oncology clinical trials. US Oncology Research serves more than 85 practices in more than 245 locations managing more than 200 active trials at any given time. Physicians in the research network have enrolled more than 52,000 patients in over 1,200 trials since inception in 1992 and have contributed to the development of 43 cancer therapies approved by the FDA. For more information call (800) 482-6700, option 4 or visit http://www.usoncology.com/oncologists.com.

Media Contacts

FORMA Media Inquiries:
Douglas MacDougall or Jennifer Conrad
MacDougall Biomedical Communications
781-235-3060
jconrad@macbiocom.com

TD2 Media Inquiries:
Steve Yozwiak
TGen Senior Science Writer
602-343-8704
syozwiak@tgen.org

US Oncology Research/McKesson Specialty Health Media Inquires:
Claire Crye
Public Relations Manager
281-863-6783
Claire.Crye@McKesson.com



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