ABBOTT PARK, Illinois and COPENHAGEN, Denmark, December 20, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- EpiTherapeutics and Abbott today announced a collaboration agreement to develop new anti-cancer drugs by making small-molecule inhibitors against selected epigenetic oncology targets. Under the terms of the agreement EpiTherapeutics receives an up-front payment and will receive funding of research activities at EpiTherapeutics. Further, EpiTherapeutics is eligible, under certain conditions, to receive milestone payments as well as potential royalties on future revenues. Additional financial details were not disclosed.

The collaboration agreement runs for three years. Research activities will be conducted at both EpiTherapeutics and Abbott.

Dr. Martin Bonde, CEO of EpiTherapeutics, commented: "We are very pleased with our drug discovery collaboration with Abbott, who brings tremendous expertise in the oncology field. Abbott's choice of EpiTherapeutics as a collaboration partner is recognition of our competencies within epigenetic biology and early drug discovery. We look forward to a fruitful collaboration with the aim of developing new anti-cancer drugs within the promising new area of epigenetics."

James Sullivan, Ph.D., vice president, Pharmaceuticals Discovery, Abbott, said: "Abbott's oncology research is focused on the discovery and development of targeted, less toxic therapies that work against the processes cancers need to survive. The varied nature of the cancer requires a diverse approach looking at multiple disease targets in different tumor types and we look forward to working with EpiTherapeutics to accelerate our development of new anti-cancer drugs."

Epigenetics is the study of inherited changes driven by the differential expression of genes through mechanisms other than changes in the underlying DNA sequence. Cancer epigenetics is a rapidly emerging research area with potential to help find new treatments for patients by modifying DNA and chromatin, both of which play a role in tumor development.