CellCentric raises $26 million to take first-in- class p300/CBP inhibitor into the clinic

Posted on May 15th 2018

CellCentric has raised $26 million in private financing to fund clinical testing of its first-in-class oncology drug candidate CCS1477. The funds will be used to test the novel p300/CBP inhibitor in late stage, treatment-resistant prostate cancer (up to Phase IIb). Recent data shared at AACR also highlighted the potential of CCS1477 in a range of cancers, and these will be explored additionally. The further funds come from one of CellCentric’s existing investors, Morningside Venture Investments.

Dr Will West, Chairman & CEO of CellCentric, commented: “There is a large and growing population of late-stage prostate cancer patients who have inherent or acquired resistance to current second-line anti-androgen therapies. CCS1477 has shown promise in addressing this. It is positioned after or in combination with second generation anti-androgen drugs such as abiraterone, enzalutamide and apalutamide.”

Dr Jason Dinges, CellCentric Board Director and Morningside representative, added: “Oncology product development is highly competitive. There are few genuine first-in-class new drug opportunities which have a large but specific patient population to treat. We are also encouraged by new data demonstrating that p300/CBP inhibition has significant potential for other areas beyond prostate cancer. Morningside is delighted to support the CellCentric team with their continued momentum.”

The potential market for a new agent for late stage prostate cancer is highly significant, with over 80,000 potential patients each year. The new financing will fund development of CCS1477 in this indication up to Phase IIb clinical testing.

CCS1477 is a potent, selective, orally-bioavailable inhibitor of the conserved bromodomains of twin histone acetyl transferase proteins, p300 and CBP. When p300/CBP are inhibited, expression of the drivers of late-stage prostate cancer; the androgen receptor (AR), AR-splice variants (AR-SV) and c-Myc, are significantly reduced.

Reducing AR-SV in particular is believed to address inherent or acquired resistance to existing second generation anti-androgen treatments abiraterone (Zytiga), enzalutamide (Xtandi) and apalutamide (Erleada). CCS1477 is clearly differentiated from other approaches currently in development to tackle resistance.

Data presented at the recent AACR meeting showed CCS1477 has a profound duration of effect on tumour inhibition after drug dosing cessation, when the compound is no longer present. This has been shown in both models of prostate cancer and acute myeloid leukaemia. This reprogramming of cancer cell growth differentiates CCS1477 from other developmental agents, including other bromodomain inhibitors.

As well as pursuing CCS1477’s prostate cancer potential, the new funds will also allow CellCentric to explore tolerability and initial efficacy of CCS1477 in haematological cancers. Tumours with p300 or CBP mutations, notably bladder and small cell lung cancer, will also be explored.

CellCentric’s clinical programme in prostate cancer is due to start early summer 2018, initially at the Royal Marsden Hospital in the UK before expanding nationally and then to the US.

About CellCentric

CellCentric is a biotechnology company focused on a first-in-class p300/CBP bromodomain inhibitor drug, CCS1477. The company has investigated over 50 potential epigenetic-related drug targets, before focusing on the twin histone acetyl transferases p300/CBP. An earlier programme, based on an arginine methyltransferase target, was licenced to Takeda Pharmaceuticals.

CCS1477 has relevance to multiple cancer types, and notably for late-stage, castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). It addresses the large and growing population of patients that have tumours that have inherent or acquired resistance to second generation anti-hormonal drugs. There is also compelling evidence of its potential for haematological cancers (AML, Multiple Myeloma, DLBCL), as well as tumours that bear mutations in either p300 or CBP (notably in bladder and lung cancers). CCS1477 will start clinical trials in the summer of 2018, with world-leading prostate cancer research clinician, Professor Johann de Bono of the Royal Marsden Hospital and Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), London.

CellCentric is a privately held business, with Morningside Venture Investments as its lead investor. CCS1477’s progress has also benefited from awards from Innovate UK (BioMedical Catalyst) and the Prostate Cancer Foundation. The company maintains active collaborations with multiple research centres in Europe and the US.