The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and Epizyme announced today that they have achieved a pre-clinical milestone in their partnership to develop Epizyme’s DOT1L-targeted histone methyltransferase inhibitor (HMTi) for Mixed Lineage Leukemia (MLL), a devastating acute leukemia that affects both pediatric and adult patients. Including this milestone, Epizyme has received, to date, $2.6 million of a potential $7.5 million in funding under the partnership with LLS to support the DOT1L program through Phase 1. Epizyme is creating personalized therapeutics for patients with genetically-defined cancers, with a focus on small molecule inhibitors of histone methyltransferases, an important epigenetic target class.
"LLS is committed to finding cures for all blood cancers, including acute leukemias of this type, and Epizyme continues to make rapid progress in developing a DOT1L HMTi as a personalized therapeutic for patients with MLL," said Richard Winneker, Senior Vice President, Research at LLS.
“Epizyme’s mission is to develop personalized therapeutics for patients with genetically-defined diseases,” said Robert Copeland, Ph.D., Executive Vice President and Chief Scientific Officer at Epizyme. “We are grateful for the strategic and financial support that the LLS provides.”
Bruce Chabner, M.D., the Director for Clinical Research at the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, former head of the Division of Cancer Treatment at the National Cancer Institute, and Epizyme SAB member, added, “Epizyme has made extraordinary progress in advancing the first personalized epigenetic therapy towards a clinical trial. There is a clear unmet need for improving the treatment of patients with MLL. Existing diagnostic tests identify these patients, but current therapies are not designed to attack the driver mutation in histone methylation. There is great hope and enthusiasm for personalized therapeutics that address epigenetic targets."
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and multiple myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services. Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572. www.lls.org.
Epizyme is leading the discovery and development of small molecule histone methyltransferase (HMT) inhibitors, a new class of targeted therapeutics for the treatment of genetically-defined cancer patients, based on breakthroughs in the field of epigenetics. Genetic alterations in the HMTs are strongly associated with the underlying causes of multiple human diseases, including cancer. Epizyme’s patient-driven approach represents the future of personalized therapeutics by creating better medicines for the right patients more quickly and at lower cost than traditional approaches. www.epizyme.com
Andrea Greif, 914-821-8958
MacDougall Biomedical Communications
Kari Watson or Jennifer Conrad, 781-235-3060