NEWTOWN, PA — Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ONTX) and Pangea Biomed recently announced a research collaboration between the companies. The collaboration will leverage Pangea Biomed’s proprietary algorithmic platform, ENLIGHT, with the goal of identifying biomarkers of response to Onconova’s proprietary investigational product candidate rigosertib.
Rigosertib has a multi-faceted mechanism of action targeting proteins containing the RAS binding domain, allowing it to modulate the PI3K and PLK1 pathways, as well as the tumor immune microenvironment. Clinical data have suggested the anti-cancer activity of rigosertib plus checkpoint inhibition in KRAS-mutated non-small cell lung cancer, and of rigosertib monotherapy in advanced squamous cell carcinoma complicating recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, an ultra-rare condition driven by PLK1 overexpression.
“Rigosertib’s ability to potently inhibit PLK1 and modulate the tumor immune microenvironment confers broad potential to treat a range of solid cancers,” said Steven M. Fruchtman, M.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of Onconova. “By leveraging Pangea’s AI platform to identify predictive biomarkers of response to rigosertib, we aim to inform a precision medicine approach to selecting additional PLK1-dependent tumors and other indications for its potential evaluation. We believe this approach will increase the probability of success for rigosertib’s future development programs.”
“Precision medicine is the future of oncology, but gaps in the industry’s current biomarker approaches overly narrow patient populations for promising drugs,” said Pangea Biomed Chief Executive Officer Tuvik Beker, Ph.D. “ENLIGHT goes beyond standard biomarkers to expand patient populations for targeted therapies, in addition to surfacing new biomarkers for existing drugs. We’re hopeful our platform can help Onconova accelerate rigosertib’s successful development in a variety of difficult-to-treat cancers.”
Pangea Biomed’s ENLIGHT platform is a pan-cancer response predictor that evaluates in vitro, preclinical, and clinical datasets to build genetic interaction maps that infer functional relationships between gene pairs to reveal tumor vulnerabilities to specified therapies. Onconova and Pangea Biomed will chart genetic interactions related to PLK1 to identify a biomarker of response to rigosertib based on its inhibitory activity against this protein. The ENLIGHT platform will then be applied to generate additional genetic interaction maps around other pathways targeted by rigosertib. Per a collaboration agreement between the companies, Onconova retains all rights to rigosertib and will own intellectual property that may result from the research collaboration.
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