Pharma R&D Today
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The Hive Welcomes Promising Cancer Treatments
Posted on October 20th, 2016 by Betsy Davis in Pharma R&D
Drug discovery and development was once a very secretive process where the major industry players were intent on keeping their research to themselves in order to stay competitive.
But times are changing and, increasingly, forward-thinking companies understand that the future of innovation lies in collaboration. Elsevier’s new initiative The Hive, which brings biotech start-ups together to learn from each other, is built on this premise.
We were privileged to receive many applications from a wide variety of companies that were interested in participating in The Hive. We could only select a few companies for the launch, and Arctic Pharma AS and Myelo Therapeutics were stand-outs. The research being carried out by these two start-ups has significant implications for cancer patients and beyond.
Developing Better Treatments for a Healthier World
Arctic Pharma AS is a small, Oslo-based start-up committed to developing innovative anti-cancer drugs by exploiting the “sweet tooth” of cancer cells and their peculiar metabolic features. The start-up’s research team directly targets key enzymes that are upregulated in cancer cell metabolism with inhibitors designed at Arctic Pharma. This will enable them to develop new pharmaceuticals to combat cancer that exhibit fewer side effects.
The company’s main research objective is to optimize its lead compounds in order to select one for future pre-clinical trial studies. The ultimate goal is to bring to market a therapy for breast cancer that targets the energy metabolism of the tumor. As they pursue this goal, Arctic Pharma hopes to fulfill its mission to become a leader in cancer therapies that are environmentally friendly and have very few side effects on patients.
Myelo Therapeutics, based in Germany, is a pharmaceutical company that develops innovative treatments in areas of high unmet medical need. The company’s lead compound, Myelo001, is an orally applied small molecule, currently being investigated in a phase IIa clinical trial. To understand Myelo001, you first have to know that cytotoxic chemotherapy frequently suppresses the hematopoietic system, impairing host protective mechanisms. Chemotherapy-induced Neutropenia (CIN), the most serious hematologic toxicity, is associated with the risk of life-threatening infections. As a consequence of such an infection, it can become necessary to reduce dosage of or delay chemotherapy, which may compromise treatment outcomes. What Myelo001 does is it reduces the occurrence of CIN, and, in addition to its protective properties, Myelo001 is effective in preventing a broad range of viral infections, an important added benefit for immunosuppressed patients.
Myelo001 is the first new therapy option for chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (CIN) in over 20 years. Preclinical and first clinical studies confirmed good safety and efficacy in CIN prophylaxis. However, the molecular mode of action and binding site at the target molecule is not yet fully elucidated. This is the primary objective of Myelo Therapeutics’ non-clinical research program.
Buzzing About The Hive
Both Arctic and Myelo are as excited to be The Hive as we are to have them. As a small start-up, Arctic Pharma AS is excited the opportunity to get access to Elsevier’s suite of programs, because these products provide rapid access to facts about chemical data such as reaction schemes, proteins (enzymes), patent information on compounds, etc. that help move their R&D projects forward. Elsevier’s R&D solutions also contain extensive and detailed information on chemical compounds/structures, visualization of disease mechanisms, metabolomics data, prediction of drug-drug interactions, and more, which are important for the further development of Arctic’s cancer therapies.
Myelo Therapeutics is also the excited about the information access that comes with being in The Hive. Even though an extensive amount of research went into the development of Myelo001 already, which allowed the company to reach the clinical phase IIa, Myelo001’s mode of action for prevention of myelosuppression as well as its antiviral capabilities are not yet fully elucidated. The Hive will help Myelo to dissect the array of collected research data and steer the non-clinical research focus more decisively and more precisely than previously possible. Additionally, the package of R&D tools will allow the company to reduce costs overall and to increase the likelihood of success in their research and development program.
With the launch of The Hive, Elsevier couldn’t be happier than to have this pair of small biotech innovators among its powerhouse group of start-ups. These companies are already taking incredible strides in early-stage drug discovery and development, and we can’t wait to see what further breakthroughs are ahead.
Follow The Hive to find out more.
All opinions shared in this post are the author’s own.
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