Company will develop Pancreatic Cancer Profiler based on technology to identify drug responders for therapeutic development
DURHAM, N.C., September 24, 2018 — GeneCentric Therapeutics, Inc. today announced that the company has acquired an exclusive license from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) to technology for subtyping Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC). The company plans to advance the technology to identify responder populations to emerging therapeutics for the treatment of PDAC in collaboration with pharmaceutical partners, UNC and other researchers. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“The license will expand our portfolio of high resolution, genomic-defined cancer subtypes that have the potential to function as universal biomarkers for drug response,” said Dr. Myla Lai-Goldman, CEO/Co-Founder of GeneCentric. “Pancreatic cancer is among the most lethal tumor types. The subtyping platform has significant potential to guide the development and eventual clinical use of promising therapeutic agents in this disease.”
The licensed technology, called Purity Independent Subtyping of Tumors (PurIST), was developed in the Laboratory of Jen Jen Yeh, MD, Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Surgery at UNC School of Medicine and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. The technology is based on set of patient-cell derived gene signatures for classifying four pancreatic subtypes. Early data in recent studies published in Clinical Cancer Research (March 15, 2018) suggest that response to chemotherapeutic drugs differs among patients with different genomic/transcriptomic subtypes.
“Having dedicated such considerable effort to developing this novel PDAC profiling technology, it is deeply gratifying to begin progressing it to potential clinical and therapeutic application,” said Dr. Yeh, “Advancing novel technologies such as this to predict disease progression and treatment response can accelerate the development of novel therapeutic approaches to extend and improve the lives of people with PDAC.”
PDAC is the 11th most common cancer type with an estimated 55,000 new cases in the US in 2018, according to the American Cancer Society. While PDAC represents three percent of all cancers, the disease accounts for seven percent of all cancer deaths. Five year-survival is 8.5 percent.
About GeneCentric’s Cancer Subtype Profilers
GeneCentric’s proprietary core technology, CSP, identifies biologic subtypes of cancer through an integrated analysis of tumor genomics. The subtypes, which combine gene expression data with disease-related molecular pathways and immune cell expression, have potential to function as universal biomarkers of drug response and enable more precision drug development. Published studies have demonstrated that the subtypes, while indistinguishable by standard morphology, have different genetic, molecular and clinical attributes, and immune profiles that may drive drug response. The company’s growing portfolio includes profilers for head and neck, lung and bladder cancer.
About the Yeh Lab at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Headed by Dr. Jen Jen Yeh, Professor of Surgery and Pharmacology and Vice Chair for Research, Department of Surgery at UNC School of Medicine and the Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Yeh Lab’s focus is to identify and study novel therapeutic targets for the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer continues to be a lethal disease with few therapeutic options. The Yeh Lab’s research therefore centers on identifying therapies and targets through integrated omic and molecular approaches. For more information, please visit https://unclineberger.org/yehlab.
About GeneCentric Therapeutics, Inc.
GeneCentric Therapeutics, Inc., based in Research Triangle Park, N.C., is applying proprietary technology to identify drug responder populations that enable the development of precision cancer drugs while improving patient outcomes. Our initial approach applies our Cancer Subtype Platform (CSP®) to parse the complexity of tumor biology and generate genomic signatures. This approach yields high-resolution cancer subtypes with the potential to function as universal biomarkers for susceptibility to immune-based, targeted and other therapies. In commercializing our technology through strategic collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotech companies, we are defining responder populations based on subtypes throughout the drug development cycle. For more information, please visit www.GeneCentric.com.