Ligon Discovery and Lycera Collaborate to Develop First-in-Class Drugs for Immune Disorders

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 General News
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Feb. 9 Ligon Discovery announced today that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Lycera Corporation to apply its Small Molecule Microarray (SMM) screening technology to identify first-in-class drug candidates for immune disorders. Ligon will apply its SMM technology to screen protein targets identified by Lycera as critical to the development of certain immune disorders. Financial terms were not disclosed.

"By partnering with Lycera, a leader in the discovery of novel therapeutics for immune disorders, we can demonstrate the unique capabilities of SMMs, in particular, to screen challenging targets to identify unique starting points for novel drug discovery," Dr. Patrick Kleyn, Chief Executive Officer of Ligon Discovery explained.

"Ligon's Small Molecule Microarray technology allows us to rapidly screen any protein target irrespective of its biological function, against Ligon's and our compound collection," said Dr. Gary Glick, Lycera's founder and Chief Scientific Officer.

About Small Molecule Microarrays

SMMs are manufactured by spotting unmodified compound collections at high density onto glass slides using a proprietary chemical attachment. Hundreds of thousands of compounds on SMMs can be rapidly screened in parallel against hundreds of protein targets. Ligon's SMM surface chemistry was specifically developed to allow the attachment of chemical collections whether synthetic, natural, bioactive, or diversity-oriented. No special moiety is required for attachment, so Ligon's SMMs are compatible with almost any existing chemical collection. The unprecedented throughput of SMMs offers a fundamentally different paradigm for drug discovery based upon complete screening of all potential targets in a molecular pathway or protein family, and upfront assessment of drug selectivity among related proteins, versus the conventional paradigm of single target screening and after-the-fact selectivity optimization.

About Ligon Discovery

Ligon Discovery is a Harvard University spinout that leverages a patented platform technology to identify pre-clinical drug candidates. The company's high-throughput microarray "chip" transforms the speed of the drug discovery process and expands the scope of new drug prospecting to include previously intractable targets. With funding from incTANK Ventures, the team has deployed the SMM technology, originally invented at Harvard University and further developed at the Broad Institute (founded by MIT and Harvard University) in Cambridge, and has established one of the largest small molecule screening capabilities in the industry. Using this facility, Ligon has successfully completed screens in the fields of coagulation and cancer, and is actively pursuing drug discovery in other areas of high unmet medical need. For more information, visit

About Lycera

Lycera Corp. is focused on the discovery and development of small-molecule immunomodulators for the treatment of patients with autoimmune diseases including psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus erythematosis, inflammatory bowel disease and transplant rejection. Lycera is developing drug candidates that target two novel therapeutic pathways and have the potential for first-in-class oral efficacy without the adverse effects of current standard-of-care antiproliferative and immunosuppressive agents. Visit for more information.

SOURCE Ligon Discovery

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