Deal represents part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s strategy to provide breakthrough cancer therapies
Quantro Therapeutics has announced that it has entered a three-year collaboration, option and licence agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim for the identification and development of inhibitors for up to three cancer-associated transcription factors.
The collaboration will employ Quantro’s proprietary drug discovery platform based on time-resolved transcriptomics to identify and develop drug candidates interfering with key transcriptional programmes in cancer. It is part of Boehringer Ingelheim’s long-term strategy to provide first-in-class breakthrough therapies for cancer patients.
Transcription factors are central regulators of gene expression that are commonly deregulated in cancer and have emerged as a promising class of therapeutic targets. Targeting transcription factors through small-molecule inhibitors, however, remains notoriously difficult.
Quantro’s unique drug discovery platform combines genome engineering, chemical genetics and innovative gene expression profiling to develop novel therapeutics that interfere with aberrant transcriptional programmes.
Professor Norbert Kraut, Global Head of Cancer Research at Boehringer Ingelheim, explained: “Transforming cancer care takes a diversity of minds. Therefore, we are excited about partnering with Quantro on oncogenic transcription factors. Development of small-molecule inhibitors for this target class is truly challenging due to their frequent lack of enzymatic activity and ligandable pockets.”
“Quantro’s innovative drug discovery approach tackles this important protein family in a new way and has the potential to deliver drug candidates that overcome the barriers of drugging important cancer drivers that so far remain inaccessible to targeted therapies,” he added.
Dr Dieter Nachtigall, chief executive officer of Quantro, concluded: “After establishing Quantro’s drug discovery pipeline and demonstrating the superior sensitivity and specificity of our time-resolved transcriptomics assay, we are delighted to work with Boehringer Ingelheim over the next three years to identify and develop drug candidates targeting transcription factors in cancer.
“This collaboration and our interaction with the highly committed oncology team of Boehringer Ingelheim will boost our efforts to develop novel therapies interfering with transcriptional regulators.”