Debiopharm extends their DNA damage repair footprint with new oncology pipeline entry

Debiopharm obtains global rights from Novo Nordisk for the development of their ubiquitin-specific protease 1 (USP1) inhibitor 

Lausanne, Switzerland – March 2nd, 2023 – Debiopharm (, an independent Swiss-based, biopharmaceutical company aiming to develop tomorrow’s standard-of-care treatments to cure cancer and infectious diseases, today announced having obtained the global rights for FT-3171, a small molecule USP1 inhibitor program targeting a novel DNA damage repair (DDR) pathway from Novo Nordisk.

FT-3171 was developed by Forma Therapeutics, which was acquired by Novo Nordisk in 2022, and is currently in late preclinical development. FT-3171 (Debio 0432) could potentially be deployed to combat multiple tumor types in poly ADP ribose pathway inhibitor-sensitive and resistant settings.

This new pipeline entry will join WEE1-inhibitor Debio 0123, reinforcing Debiopharm’s commitment to improve cancer patients’ treatment response and to overcome treatment resistance to current therapies. Through translational and eventual clinical investigation, Debiopharm is poised to further apply their DDR inhibitor expertise to efficiently advance the development of Debio 0432 with the ultimate aim of producing a novel therapy that responds to unmet needs of cancer patients.

“In 2017, Debiopharm dove into the DDR inhibitor field, firstly through its WEE1-inhibitor Debio 0123 and now through this innovative asset, targeting USP1. We are eager to establish the research necessary to bring this product to the clinical phase.” explained Angela Zubel, Chief Development Officer at Debiopharm.

“Leveraging the principle of synthetic lethality by inhibiting the right DDR pathway targets to enable tumor cell destruction is an emerging field that deserves further exploration, this target is complementary with Debiopharm development pipeline like our ADC programs or Debio 0123” mentioned Bertrand Ducrey, CEO, Debiopharm. “We are thrilled about this licensing deal with Forma Therapeutics and Novo Nordisk and evaluating the potential of this USP1-inhibitor program.” 

About ubiquitin-specific protease 1 (USP1)

The USP family is one of the largest subfamily of deubiquitinases (DUB)1. Ubiquitin-specific protease 1 (USP1), in particular, is a nucleus-localized enzyme and a well-established component of DNA repair, acting both in the Fanconi Anemia pathway (on FANCD2 and FANC1) and in translesion synthesis (TLS) on PCNA (Proliferating Cell Nuclear Antigen) substrate. It catalyzes the removal of specific monoubiquitin signals, is a critical regulator of genome integrity and its dysfunction plays a key role in cancer initiation and progression,2-3 explaining why USP1 has recently drawn special attention as cancer target. In addition, USP1 was recently identified as a novel synthetic lethal interaction partner with BRCA1 loss offering a good rationale for the investigation of USP1 inhibitors in patient populations currently treated with PARP inhibitors.4 The potential of this class of new therapeutic agents might however be exploited in further settings as understanding of USP1 biology is progressing.5

Debiopharm’s commitment to patients

Debiopharm aims to develop innovative therapies that target high unmet medical needs in oncology and bacterial infections. Bridging the gap between disruptive discovery products and real-world patient reach, we identify high-potential compounds and technologies for in-licensing, clinically demonstrate their safety and efficacy, and then select large pharmaceutical commercialization partners to maximize patient access globally.

For more information, please visit
We are on Twitter and LinkedIn. Follow us!



1 Xu, Xin et al. Inhibition of Ubiquitin Specific Protease 1 Sensitizes Colorectal Cancer Cells to DNA-Damaging Chemotherapeutics. Frontiers in oncology vol. 9 1406. 18 Dec. 2019, doi:10.3389/fonc.2019.01406

2 Pal, Anupama et al. Emerging potential of therapeutic targeting of ubiquitin-specific proteases in the treatment of cancer. Cancer research vol. 74,18 (2014): 4955-66. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-14-1211

3 Kah Suan Lim, Heng Li, Emma A Roberts, Emily F Gaudiano, Connor Clairmont, Larissa Alina Sambel, Karthikeyan Ponnienselvan, Jessica C Liu, Chunyu Yang, David Kozono, Kalindi Parmar, Timur Yusufzai, Ning Zheng, Alan D D’Andrea. USP1 Is Required for Replication Fork Protection in BRCA1-Deficient Tumors Mol Cell 2018 Dec 20;72(6):925-941 DOI: 10.1016/j.molcel.2018.10.045

4 Are CRISPR Screens Providing the Next Generation of Therapeutic Targets?
Vazquez F, Sellers WR. Cancer Res. 2021 Dec 1;81(23):5806-5809. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-21-1784.

5  USP1-trapping lesions as a source of DNA replication stress and genomic instability
Kate E Coleman, Yandong Yin, Sarah Kit Leng Lui, Sarah Keegan, David Fenyo, Duncan J Smith, Eli Rothenberg, Tony T Huang Nat Commun. 2022 Apr 1;13(1):1740. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-022-29369-3