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Boehringer Ingelheim and QUANTRO Therapeutics partner to develop drug candidates

The collaboration aims to offer a long-term strategy to provide breakthrough cancer treatments

Boehringer Ingelheim

Boehringer Ingelheim and QUANTRO Therapeutics have announced plans to enter a three-year collaboration, option and licence agreement for the identification and development of inhibitors for up to three cancer-associated transcription factors.

The collaboration will utilise QUANTRO’s proprietary drug discovery platform, which is based on time-resolved transcriptomics to identify and develop drug candidates interfering with key transcriptional programmes in cancer. The project comes as an extension of Boehringer Ingelheim’s long-term strategy to provide breakthrough treatments for cancer patients.

Transcription factors are commonly deregulated in cancer, and are central regulators of gene expression that have been identified as a potential class of therapeutic targets. However, targeting transcription factors through small-molecule inhibitors is still very complex.

QUANTRO’s unique drug discovery platform blends genome engineering, chemical genetics and innovative gene expression profiling in order to develop novel therapeutics that interfere with aberrant transcriptional programmes.

Professor Norbert Kraut, global head of cancer research at Boehringer Ingelheim, said: “Transforming cancer care takes a diversity of minds. Therefore, we are excited about partnering with QUANTRO on oncogenic transcription factors. Development of small-molecule inhibitors for this target class is truly challenging due to their frequent lack of enzymatic activity and ligandable pockets.

“QUANTRO’s innovative drug discovery approach tackles this important protein family in a new way and has the potential to deliver drug candidates that overcome the barriers of drugging important cancer drivers that so far remain inaccessible to targeted therapies.”

Although financial details have not been disclosed, as part of the agreement, QUANTRO is entitled to receive up-front payments, research and development support, and milestone payments, alongside royalties on products that are a result of the collaboration.

In addition to this, QUANTRO will retain all rights to its technology platform and to internal and proprietary drug discovery programmes targeting different cancer-associated transcription factors.

Dr Dieter Nachtigall, chief executive officer of QUANTRO, commented: “After establishing QUANTRO’s drug discovery pipeline and demonstrating the superior sensitivity and specificity of our time-resolved transcriptomics assay, we are delighted to work with Boehringer Ingelheim over the next three years to identify and develop drug candidates targeting transcription factors in cancer.

"This collaboration and our interaction with the highly committed oncology team of Boehringer Ingelheim will boost our efforts to develop novel therapies interfering with transcriptional regulators.”

Article by
Fleur Jeffries

3rd August 2022

From: Research, Healthcare

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