VER250840 was developed using the Vernalis Design Platform (VDP).
Chk1, a target within the DNA Damage Response (DDR) network, has been shown to play a key role in maintaining the genomic integrity of cancer cells. Drugs that inhibit Chk1 prevent cells from repairing DNA and cause cancer cells to divide while retaining damaged DNA, often resulting in cell death.
Vernalis, acquired in October 2018 by Ligand Pharmaceuticals, is developing the candidate VER250840, a novel oral, selective Chk1 kinase inhibitor discovered using its Vernalis Design Platform (VDP). The VDP combines protein structure determination and engineering, fragment screening, molecular modeling and medicinal chemistry for the identification of drugs designed to attack highly-challenging targets. VER250840 has been shown as a single agent, and in combination with several different cytotoxic agents, to target Chk1 in a range of different tumor types.
Cumulus Oncology recently signed a license agreement with Ligand granting the company exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize VER250840. Cumulus is paying an undisclosed upfront fee and up to an additional $76 million in milestone payments. Ligand will also receive tiered royalties in the mid-to-high single digit range, depending on revenue.