Focus is on advancing cancer subtypes to predict disease progression and pursuing immune-biology related drug response biomarkers
DURHAM, N.C., December 10, 2018 — GeneCentric Therapeutics, Inc. today announced that it has entered into a research collaboration with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) to assess patient response to immunotherapeutic drugs such as PD-1 and PDL-1 inhibitors based on bladder cancer subtypes. The collaboration will augment the GeneCentric’s Bladder Cancer Subtype Profiler (BSP™) to predict disease progression and drug response and expand the company’s Cancer Subtype Platform (CSP®).
“There is a significant need for selecting the right patients for clinical development of new therapies and ultimately for medical practice,” said Dr. Myla Lai-Goldman, CEO/Founder of GeneCentric. “While the five-year survival rate for all bladder cancer patients is 77 percent, when the cancer has metastasized, survival is less than 12 months. Checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy has been effective in treating some bladder cancer patients but has been associated with significant adverse events in others. Our UNC collaboration will build on our knowledge of bladder cancer subtypes and other biomarkers to determine their potential to predict disease progression and drug response.”
The collaboration, with the laboratory of Dr. William Kim, Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Genetics in the Department of Medicine and Division of Hematology and Oncology at UNC-Chapel Hill, will involve a retrospective study of ‘real world’ data augmented by extensive molecular characterization of patients with metastatic bladder cancer. This includes investigation of the links between certain bladder cancer alterations, disease progression, and clinical response to anti-PD1/anti-PD1-L1 checkpoint inhibitor therapy as well as other treatments. Dr. Kim is also a consultant to GeneCentric.
“While our understanding of the tumor and immune biology related to bladder cancer is evolving rapidly, meaningful progress for invasive disease has been difficult,” said Dr. Kim. “This collaboration will generate data to support important research intended to generate new insights regarding disease progression and response signatures to current therapies as well as accelerate the advancement of novel treatments.”
About GeneCentric Therapeutics, Inc.’s Bladder Cancer Subtype Profiler (BSP™)
GeneCentric’s Bladder Cancer Subtype Profiler employs a 60-gene signature that comprises four gene expression subtypes. The gene signature was derived based on proprietary technologies and data sets as well as approximately 2700 genes from 408 bladder cancer patients in The Cancer Genome Atlas. The subtypes reveal differences in expression profiles of genes, such as FGFR3 and ERBB2, that are promising therapeutic targets in bladder cancer. The bladder cancer subtypes also show variability in immune profiles that is likely to inform the response to immunotherapy. The subtypes have also been found to be significantly prognostic for Stage 2 and 3 bladder cancer.
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.
About the Kim Lab at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center
Headed by William Y. Kim, MD, a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member and Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Genetics in the Department of Medicine and Division of Hematology and Oncology at UNC-Chapel Hill, the Kim Lab is focused on understanding the genetic and epigenetic events involved in the initiation and progression of renal cell carcinoma (RCC) and bladder cancer. Through Next-Generation sequencing of primary human tumors and the use of genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs), as well as in vitro systems, the Kim Lab seeks to identify the critical genomic and epigenetic changes that are drivers of RCC and bladder cancer. The ultimate intent of the Kim Lab is to elucidate the functional consequences of these genomic events to pinpoint novel, high impact therapeutic targets for therapy. Dr. Kim is involved with Cancer Genetics, Clinical Research, the UNC Urologic Oncology Program and the UNC Cancer Genetics Program. For more information, please visit http://kimlab.web.unc.edu/.
GeneCentric Therapeutics, Inc.
Walter M. Capone
Chief Business Officer