FORMA Therapeutics and CRT form two virtual companies to advance deubiquitination assets

2015-03-23 00:00:00

FORMA Therapeutics and Cancer Research Technology Ltd. (CRT) announced today the formation of two new virtual Asset Discovery and Development Companies (ADDCos) with novel chemical matter targeting undisclosed deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs). ADDCos are virtual companies seeking to achieve rapid innovation in a compelling scientific area through the collaboration of academic thought leaders, FORMA drug discovery scientists and a world class development network.

This builds on an ongoing initiative between FORMA and CRT, the commercial arm of Cancer Research UK, to discover innovative tools, technologies and therapeutic drug candidates against a variety of DUBs that regulate protein homeostasis. Under their agreement, FORMA is pairing its ultra-efficient drug discovery capabilities with expertise from CRT’s Discovery Laboratories (CRT-DL) in translating academic discoveries and the exclusive world-class academic network of Cancer Research UK scientists.

Protein ubiquitination, a highly regulated cellular process controlled in part by DUBs to maintain protein homeostasis with appropriate protein levels and function, contributes to a large number of wide-ranging human diseases when aberrantly dysregulated. DUBs, as members of diverse protein complexes, are key regulators of ubiquitin recycling, processing, proofreading and disassembly. DUBs contain a catalytic domain surrounded by one or more accessory domains, some of which contribute to target recognition, and collectively represent molecular features ideally suited for therapeutic intervention.

"DUBs continue to prove to be highly attractive drug discovery targets warranting further exploration," stated Steven Tregay, Ph.D., President and CEO, FORMA Therapeutics. "A tremendous impact has been made by organizing diverse scientific disciplines within a consortia framework to advance protein homeostasis research and discoveries into active research. Additionally, this partnership's discovery programs, by virtue of structural and computational insights, have already helped accelerate new advances in medicinal chemistry."

These virtual companies represent the collective efforts of a collaborative consortium consisting of FORMA, CRT-DL and five Cancer Research UK scientists including:

  • Professor Michael Clague - University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  • Dr. Benedikt Kessler – The University of Oxford, UK
  • Dr. David Komander – Medical Research Council, Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, UK
  • Dr. Huib Ovaa – Chemical Biology Laboratory, Netherlands Cancer Institute, The Netherlands
  • Professor Sylvie Urbé - University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK

Keith Blundy, CEO of Cancer Research Technology, said: "The unique structure of this partnership unites complementary skills and capabilities to develop this very exiting emerging area of biology. The teams behind the newly formed virtual companies have proven expertise in translating research discoveries into potential new drugs - that may ultimately bring breakthrough cancer treatments to patients."


For FORMA Therapeutics: Kari Watson or Charles Liles (MacDougall Biomedical Communications), +1 781-235-3060 or

For CRT and Cancer Research UK: Ailsa Stevens, +44 20 3469 8309 / 8300 or out-of-hours, the duty press officer on +44 7050 264 059

Notes to editors


FORMA Therapeutics' scientists are passionate about discovering and developing medicines that will make a difference in oncology and other genetically driven therapeutic areas. The company's drug discovery engine drives screening and structure-based approaches across broad families of targets involved in tumor metabolism, epigenetics, protein homeostasis and protein-protein interactions. Deep biological insight across targets is combined with the company's chemistry expertise and integrated with a world class network of academic investigators, clinical experts and corporate partners to rapidly direct the creation of high quality, innovative drug candidates.

FORMA is headquartered in Watertown, MA near the epicenter of the Cambridge Life Sciences cluster, with additional chemistry operations in Branford, CT.

Join our conversation on Twitter @FORMAInc.

About Cancer Research Technology

Cancer Research Technology (CRT) is a specialist commercialisation and development company, which aims to develop new discoveries in cancer research for the benefit of cancer patients. CRT works closely with leading international cancer scientists and their institutes to protect intellectual property arising from their research and to establish links with commercial partners. CRT facilitates the discovery, development and marketing of new cancer therapeutics, vaccines, diagnostics and enabling technologies. CRT is a wholly owned subsidiary of Cancer Research UK, the world's leading cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research. Further information about CRT can be found at

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