The target is one of Foghorn’s growing number of programs emerging from the company’s product platform focused on chromatin dysregulation. The chromatin system regulates which genes a cell expresses and when it expresses them. Dysregulation of the chromatin system is implicated in up to half of all cancers.
Foghorn will grant Merck exclusive global rights to develop and commercialize drugs that target dysregulation of a single transcription factor. Under the terms of the agreement, Foghorn will receive an upfront payment and research milestones and will be eligible to receive development, regulatory and commercial milestones potentially totaling up to $425 million as well as royalties on sales of any approved product from the collaboration.
“We’re excited to partner with Merck given their world-renowned capabilities in cancer research and development,” said Adrian Gottschalk, president and chief executive officer, Foghorn. “Our ability to systematically drug transcription factors using our proprietary product platform opens vast potential to discover and develop novel cancer treatments.”
Nick Haining, vice president, discovery oncology and immunology, Merck Research Laboratories, said, “There is broad evidence for the role of dysregulated transcription factors in multiple cancer types, but these have been difficult targets to drug. We look forward to working with Foghorn and applying their platform to identify novel candidates to drug transcription factors in cancer.”