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Envisagenics, Bristol Myers Squibb Partner to ID Cancer Therapy Alternative Splice Targets

NEW YORK – Envisagenics said on Tuesday it has entered into a research agreement with Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) to identify alternative splicing-derived therapeutic targets with which to expand BMS's oncology pipeline.

The collaboration will leverage Envisagenics' cloud-based SpliceCore artificial intelligence platform to identify disease-specific splicing-derived targets using RNA-seq data from thousands of patients.

Envisagenics will receive an upfront payment and milestone payments based on development, regulatory, and commercial achievements. Other financial details were not disclosed.

SpliceCore consists of the proprietary SpliceTrap, SpliceDuo, and SpliceImpacts2 algorithms, which respectively detect alternative splicing (AS) profiles and significant AS variations; and prioritize biologically relevant AS events with therapeutic potential. 

The New York-based biotechnology company is also using SpliceCore in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson's Lung Cancer Initiative to analyze the initiative's data and build predictive models of lung cancer progression and risk.

Envisagenics also recently won a $2 million Small Business Innovation Research grant to develop its SpliceIO platform, which complements SpliceCore by seeking to identify splicing-derived neoantigens for cancer immunotherapies.

"Novel therapeutic targets are urgently needed for patients," Martin Akerman, Envisagenics' cofounder and chief technology officer, said in a statement, "and Envisagenics is thrilled to be collaborating with BMS as part of our quest for innovation."