ProFound Therapeutics, a company of Flagship Pioneering, has unveiled its plans to identify potential next-generation therapies for the treatment of obesity, as part of Flagship’s collaboration with Pfizer.

In July 2023, Flagship Pioneering and the US drugmaker initiated a $7bn therapeutics collaboration to create a new pipeline of innovative medicines.

Under the collaboration, Pioneering Medicines, an in-house drug discovery and development unit of Flagship, will lead the partnership with Pfizer.

It will drive the exploration process to rapidly surface potential drug development programs built on Flagship’s diverse bioplatforms and modalities.

ProFound will deploy its unique ProFoundry Platform, together with Pioneering’s expertise, to discover novel proteins and evaluate them for the treatment of obesity.

Pfizer gets an option to advance selected research programs created under the collaboration, once ProFound completes early validation.

ProFound Therapeutics and Flagship Pioneering CEO-partner CEO John Lepore said: “We are thrilled to be part of the Flagship and Pfizer partnership and to collaborate with Pioneering Medicines to discover and validate novel proteins that have the potential to lead to innovative, first-in-class medicines for patients with obesity.

“Through our ProFoundry Platform, we have discovered and validated an extensive library of novel proteins that unlock a new universe of possibilities for treating many different diseases, and I’m excited to apply this platform to novel therapies for obesity through this collaboration.”

Pfizer discovery and early development head Charlotte Allerton said: “This agreement, the first under our broader strategic partnership with Flagship, is designed to push the boundaries of science to potentially unlock new protein therapeutics for obesity leveraging ProFound’s proprietary discovery platform.”

In a separate development, Pfizer announced that the Phase 3 CIFFREO clinical trial evaluating investigational Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) therapy did not meet its primary endpoint.

The investigational drug, fordadistrogene movaparvovec, did not improve in motor function in boys aged 4 to 7 years, compared to placebo, with no difference in key secondary endpoints.

It showed an overall safety profile that was manageable, with mostly mild to moderate adverse events and treatment-related serious adverse events, said the US drugmaker.

Pfizer DMD development head Dan Levy said: “We are extremely disappointed that these results did not demonstrate the relative improvement in motor function that we had hoped.

“We plan to share more detailed results from the study at upcoming medical and patient advocacy meetings, with the goal of ensuring that learnings from this trial can help improve future clinical research and development of treatment options that can improve care for boys living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

“We are grateful for the boys, their families, advocates, and the investigators who have participated in this research and the continuing effort to advance treatment options for this debilitating disease.”