University of Cambridge spin-out company STORM Therapeutics has announced that it has selected a first-in-class METTL3 candidate for development towards first in human clinical studies.

The drug, sTC-15, is an orally bioavailable, small molecule METTL3 inhibitor targeting a new mechanism of action to treat acute myeloid leukaemia and other solid and haematological cancers.

The selection of this clinical candidate was made possible through STORM’s work on targeting RNA modifying enzymes for the development of new anti-cancer therapeutics.

The company has used its drug discovery capabilities, coupled with analytical technologies specifically developed to target RNA epigenetics, to generate highly potent selective and orally bioavailable small molecule inhibitors of METTL3 and other RNA modifying enzymes.

“STC-15, a highly potent and selective METTL3 inhibitor, is effective in leukaemia cells refractory to chemotherapy treatment. This patient population will be incorporated into the initial clinical trials aiming to accelerate clinical proof of concept for patients with limited other options in addition to exploring combinations with standard of care,” said Keith Blundy, chief executive officer of STORM Therapeutics.

“STORM leads the global field of RNA modulation having demonstrated in vivo proof of concept activity of the first RNA methyltransferase inhibitor in relevant animal models for myeloid and solid tumours. METTL3 is one of two programmes from the STORM platform to show in vivo activity, with others to follow,” he added.