New investment fuels further lead optimisation work on inhibitors against a specific deubiquitinase target. Compounds generated to date effect both native and splice variant androgen receptors, which are key in the progression of the most lethal form of prostate cancer. They offer a clear opportunity to address resistance mechanisms seen with current agents for the disease.
CellCentric is pleased to announce additional funding from Morningside Venture Investments, Providence Investment Company and Rainbow Seed Fund to progress its drug discovery activities. The funds will be focused predominantly on the company’s breakthrough deubiquitinase (DUB) inhibitor work for prostate cancer. The disease remains the most common malignancy, and the second leading cause of cancer mortality amongst men, with 280,000 new cases each year in the US alone. Of these up to 20% will develop the castrate resistant form which can rapidly lead to death.
CellCentric has prioritised its DUB work because of its strong proprietary position and insight into the biology and mechanism of action, complemented by robust medicinal chemistry and clear clinical positioning.
It is well established that the androgen receptor (AR) pathway plays a key role in the development of prostate cancer. The issue is that modulation of the AR pathway rapidly leads to multiple cellular resistance mechanisms. CellCentric is focusing on a DUB target that potentially not only inhibits the AR pathway but also the induced cell resistance strategies. This includes preventing the action of AR splice variants. The detailed understanding of the biology comes not only from CellCentric’s own activities, but also through working with leading research collaborators in the UK, Europe and the US.
Dr. Will West, Chief Executive of CellCentric, said "Despite recent advances, aggressive forms of prostate cancer remain a major healthcare challenge. We see that we have the right biology, chemistry and clinical understanding to make a real difference for prostate cancer through our DUB programme. Further shareholder support is much appreciated to maintain momentum in the business and our drive to deliver novel therapies".
CellCentric is a biotechnology company based in Cambridge UK, with a scientific foundation in epigenetics. Epigenetic mechanisms play a key role in regulating cell fate. When these processes go awry, disease states can be induced, including most notably cancer.
CellCentric has identified and investigated nearly 50 unexploited enzymes associated with epigenetic regulation, and has carried out early drug discovery on six. One of these, an arginine methyltransferase programme was licenced to Takeda Pharmaceuticals. Other targets include lysine methyltransferases and ubiquitin-related enzymes.
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