CAMBRIDGE, Mass., April 18, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Epizyme, Inc., a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company creating innovative personalized therapeutics for patients with genetically defined cancers, announced today that it has signed an agreement with Abbott, a global healthcare company, to develop a molecular companion diagnostic test for use with EPZ-5676. EPZ-5676, Epizyme's most advanced clinical product candidate, is an inhibitor targeting the DOT1L histone methyltransferase (HMT) for the treatment of mixed lineage leukemia (MLL-r), an aggressive genetically defined subtype of the two most common forms of acute leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL).
Under the agreement, Abbott will utilize its proprietary fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) technology to design a test to detect MLL genetic alterations that lead to the oncogenic (cancer causing) function of DOT1L. Epizyme will use Abbott's FISH-based test to help identify eligible patients for its DOT1L inhibitor.
About mixed lineage leukemia (MLL-r)
MLL-r is an aggressive subtype of two of the most common forms of acute leukemia, acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), caused by a chromosomal translocation involving the MLL gene. Based on published research, the five-year overall survival rate for adult patients with the MLL-r subtype of AML ranges from approximately 5 to 24 percent. MLL-r occurs in both an adult population and an infant/pediatric population. At this time, there are no approved therapies specifically indicated for MLL-r.
About Epizyme, Inc.
Epizyme is a clinical stage biopharmaceutical company creating personalized therapeutics for patients with genetically defined cancers. Epizyme has built a proprietary product platform that we use to create small molecule inhibitors of a 96-member class of enzymes known as histone methyltransferases, or HMTs. HMTs are part of the system of gene regulation, referred to as epigenetics, that controls gene expression. Genetic alterations can result in changes to the activity of HMTs, making them oncogenic (cancer-causing). To date, Epizyme has entered into therapeutic collaborations with Celgene, Eisai and GSK that have provided it with approximately $120 million in non-equity funding through December 31, 2012.