Small Molecule Targeting CD47-SIRPα Pathway: Insilico Medicine Achieves its First Major Milestone in Fosun Pharma Collaboration with the Nomination of Preclinical Candidate for QPCTL

SHANGHAI and NEW YORK, Feb. 17, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Insilico Medicine ("Insilico"), an end-to-end artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery and development company, today announced that it has used its proprietary AI platform to nominate a preclinical candidate compound (PCC) for innovative cancer immunotherapy for its QPCTL program. Notably, this is the first major milestone achieved by Insilico in the strategic collaboration with Fosun Pharma. Insilico Medicine and Fosun Pharma are working together on IND-enabling studies to advance PCCs in the QPCTL program to clinical trials.

Insilico Medicine achieves the first major milestone in collaboration with Fosun
Insilico Medicine achieves the first major milestone in collaboration with Fosun

ISM004-1057D, Insilico's first PCC for its QPCTL program, is a potential first-in-class small molecule inhibitor that targets QPCTL. QPCTL is responsible for CD47 pyroglutamate formation, which is the modification essential for the interaction of CD47 with its ligand SIRPα. CD47, a cell surface protein over-expressed in a wide variety of cancers, provides a "don't eat me" signal to protect tumor cells from innate immune system surveillance by interacting with SIRPα on the surface of immune cells. The small molecule inhibitors of QPCTL mimic the therapeutic effect of CD47 antibodies by attacking tumor cells via blockage of this "don't eat me" signal.

In completed in vivo preclinical studies, ISM004-1057D showed anti-tumor activity in both liquid and solid tumors and demonstrated favorable pharmacokinetics and an acceptable safety profile. As a small molecule inhibitor of QPCTL, ISM004-1057D not only provides high tumor penetration but also reduces potential hematologic and antigen sink side effects. Due to the broad expression of CD47 beyond tumor cells, antigen sink is commonly caused by treatment with most of the current CD47 antibodies.

"Innovation has always been the core driving force of Fosun Pharma. We believe that innovative AI platform technology has the potential to improve the efficiency of discovery and development of new medicines, providing strong support for pharmaceutical innovation," said Aimin Hui, Ph.D., Executive President, President of Global R&D Center, Chief Medical Officer of Fosun Pharma. "We believe that both Fosun Pharma and Insilico will make persistent efforts that may enable us to leverage advantages in technology and clinical development from each side to benefit more patients worldwide."

"It has been a phenomenal experience working together with Fosun Pharma to so efficiently achieve the PCC nomination milestone for the QPCTL program," said Feng Ren, Ph.D., CSO of Insilico. "During the collaboration, we have been hugely impressed by the Fosun team's professionalism as well as their expertise in both science and project management. We are committed to working closely together to potentially progress the PCC into clinical trials."

Insilico leveraged its end-to-end Pharma.AI platform including target identification engine PandaOmics and small molecule generation engine Chemistry42 to develop the target hypothesis for oncology and design compounds with good drug-like properties, respectively. After synthesizing and testing 71 compounds, Insilico nominated a PCC within 9 months of project initiation.

"The world needs innovative and effective first-in-class therapeutics. In this QPCTL collaboration with Fosun Pharma, we believe we are setting records in speed and novelty with AI. I am delighted that in less than 40 days since our collaboration announcement, we managed to nominate a preclinical candidate and start IND-enabling studies for the QPCTL program. We are committed to our goal of bringing speed, quality and innovation to all our drug discovery programs and moving them into clinical development as fast as we can" said Alex Zhavoronkov, Ph.D., CEO of Insilico Medicine. 

Insilico announced its strategic collaboration with Fosun Pharma in January 2022, which combines Insilico's end-to-end AI-driven drug discovery platforms and Fosun Pharma's clinical development and commercial expertise, to discover and develop a portfolio of novel therapeutics. Insilico is working to advance ISM004-1057D to the IND stage, and if it is achieved, Fosun Pharma would be responsible for conducting clinical trials. Both parties will share commercialization profits from the QPCTL program.

About Insilico Medicine

Insilico Medicine, an end-to-end artificial intelligence (AI)-driven drug discovery company is connecting biology, chemistry, and clinical trial analysis using next-generation AI systems. The company has developed AI platforms that utilize deep generative models, reinforcement learning, transformers, and other modern machine learning techniques to discover novel target discovery and to design novel molecular structures with desired properties. Insilico Medicine is delivering breakthrough solutions to discover and develop innovative drugs for cancer, fibrosis, immunity, central nervous system (CNS) diseases and aging-related diseases.

For more information, please visit www.Insilico.com.

For further information, images, or interviews, please contact media@insilicomedicine.com.

About Fosun Pharma 

Founded in 1994, Shanghai Fosun Pharmaceutical (Group) Co., Ltd. ("Fosun Pharma"; stock code: 600196.SH, 02196.HK) is a leading innovation-driven international healthcare group in China. Fosun Pharma strategically operates businesses in the pharmaceutical and health industry, including pharmaceutical manufacturing, medical devices and medical diagnosis, and healthcare services. Through equity participation in Sinopharm Co., Ltd., Fosun Pharma's business extends to pharmaceutical distribution and retail.

Fosun Pharma takes pharmaceutical manufacturing as its core business and sticks to innovative research and development. Through in-house R&D, co-development, in-licensing and incubation, Fosun Pharma has established platforms for small molecule innovative drugs, antibody drugs and cell therapy, focusing on major therapeutic areas, including oncology, immunology, the "4 hypers" (hypertension, hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia and hyperuricemia) and their complications, as well as central nervous system. In the meantime, Fosun Pharma keeps close track of cutting-edge technologies, such as targeted protein degradation, RNA, oncolytic virus and gene therapy to enhance its innovation ability.

Looking forward, under guidance of 4IN strategy (Innovation, Internationalization, Integration and Intelligentization), Fosun Pharma practices innovation and transformation, integrated operation and steady development, as well as the concept of sustainable development. Fosun Pharma is committed to becoming a first-class enterprise in the global mainstream healthcare industry.

For more information, please visit www.fosunpharma.com.

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