iOnctura, a clinical-stage biotech developing selective cancer therapies against targets that play critical roles in multiple tumour survival pathways, has exercised an exclusive option with Clavius Pharmaceuticals, adding the novel oral TGF-β pathway inhibitor, IOA-359, to its pipeline.
IOnctura also announced it has, in collaboration with the University of Twente (UT), been awarded a grant from Health Holland and KWF (Dutch Cancer Society).
The TGF-β pathway plays a critical role in promoting tumour aggressiveness, immune escape and resistance to therapy, making it an attractive target for cancer therapy. Previous attempts to interrupt TGF-β pathway signaling in cancer have been thwarted by drug-associated toxicities and activation of resistance pathways by the tumour. By developing a safe TGF-β pathway inhibitor and characterising the resistance mechanisms that typically arise when targeting the TGF-β pathway alone, iOnctura’s data-driven precision oncology methods are being used to design novel, safe combination treatments that promise to override tumour survival resistance pathways.
Supplementing iOnctura’s internal preclinical investigations, the KWF grant led by Dr Ruchi Bansal, Assistant Professor of Medical Cell BioPhysics, will utilise UT’s unique model system to provide iOnctura with a preclinical pharmacology package for IOA-359.
Catherine Pickering, Chief Executive Officer of iOnctura, said: “IOA-359 is an exciting addition to our preclinical pipeline. TGF-β is an established target in oncology yet we are the first company applying precision methods to intelligently combine targeting this pathway alongside other tumour survival and resistance pathways. We recently demonstrated that the autotaxin/LPA pathway has a role in mediating TGF-β resistance in pancreatic cancer and are excited to further explore combining IOA-359 with our autotaxin inhibitor, IOA-289, preclinically.”