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Peptomyc start human trials of ‘universal cancer therapy’

8th April 2021

April 2021 will see the first cancer patients treated with a Myc inhibitor in a clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of this novel therapy.

Building on the proven preclinical efficacy and safety of the Omomyc cell-penetrating mini-protein in mouse models, and Peptomyc’s successful development of this compound for the treatment of several tumour types, this latest milestone represents a greatly anticipated ‘leap’ in clinical research, and an important step forward in becoming the first ever clinically viable and direct inhibitor of Myc.

Myc is a protein that plays an important role in the survival and proliferation of cancer cells, and therefore attacking it could prove successful in combating a number of different cancers – it could become a so called ‘universal cancer treatment’. However, Myc has been largely considered ‘undruggable’ because it lacks effective binding pockets on its surface – in other words, it was thought that potential treatments would have nothing to ‘grab onto’.

Myc has been considered an ‘undruggable’ cancer target for many years. We have previously shown that Myc blockade has an excellent therapeutic effect in several mouse models, with mild side effects that are well tolerated and reversible. Now that we have received approval to initiate our early phase clinical trial, we can further progress in testing the safety and efficacy of our Omomyc-based therapy for the benefit of those who matter most – our patients,” Said Dr Laura Soucek, Co-Founder and CEO of Peptomyc.

Laura set up Peptomyc as a spin-off (a company born out of another; typically, a research institution) of the Vall d´Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO) and the Catalan Institute of Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), determined to prove cynics wrong and demonstrate that Myc inhibition holds great promise that can be translated into benefits for patients. Peptomyc has been supported by EIT Health throughout its journey, benefitting from vital financial and business support to enable the new start-up to flourish. Access to EIT Health’s vast network meant Laura received bespoke strategic advice from internationally renowned consultants, gained training on engaging with investors, and had the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with founders of other start-ups. Ultimately, the network enabled Dr Soucek to progress towards clinical trials and build an evidence base to demonstrate the potential of her therapy.

We’re extremely proud of Laura and the entire team at Peptomyc for their tenacity and commitment in finding and proving novel methods for new, safe and effective potential cancer treatments for patients with cancer. We all well know what a devastating disease cancer is, and sadly most of us have been affected in some way. EIT Health remains dedicated to supporting scientists, clinicians and entrepreneurs to accelerate the fight against cancer with innovative products and services,” said Jan-Philipp Beck, CEO of EIT Health.

Approximately twenty patients with advanced solid tumours across various cancer types, whose disease has progressed despite previous treatments, will be enrolled in the phase I study. This clinical trial will be carried out at three Spanish hospitals across Barcelona and Madrid.

To hear more about Laura’s story, please visit eithealth.eu/spotlight-story/peptomyc.

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