The University of Turku and the Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3) of the University of Leuven in Belgium have announced the signing of a collaboration agreement for the development of a new type of cancer drug.
Despite progress in the development of therapies for different types of cancer, in many cases efficient treatments are still lacking. The University of Turku research group led by Finnish Cancer Institute Research Professor Jukka Westermarck has identified a promising novel therapeutic target for the treatment of cancer, CIP2A, which is a protein that promotes the malignancy of several different types of cancer.
As the mechanism by which CIP2A promotes cancer development is fundamentally different from any mechanism targeted by currently available cancer drugs or drugs in development, inhibition of CIP2A is a promising area for killing several cancers and circumventing resistance against existing therapies. In addition, the inhibition of CIP2A is not anticipated to cause any severe side-effects. As such, therapeutic targeting of CIP2A holds great promise for the development of novel cancer cures.
Based on their recent results around the mechanism by which CIP2A exerts its pro-tumorigenic role, the Westermarck laboratory has paved the way for an innovative strategy permitting the development of small molecule inhibitors of CIP2A, which is believed to act as the starting point for the development of new anticancer agents. To achieve this goal, the University of Turku has signed a strategic research collaboration agreement with CD3 to further investigate this interesting target and develop small molecule inhibitors of CIP2A.
CD3 contains a vast amount of expertise and capabilities in this field, and during the last few years, CD3 has already delivered many new lead compounds forming the basis for potential new medicines for various diseases.
“We are very pleased with this strategic collaboration that enables us to bridge the gap between our innovative biomedical research with the drug development expertise available at CD3, says Business Development Manager Anne Marjamäki from the University of Turku.”
“I am very excited that by partnering with CD3 we are able to translate our basic research findings to hopefully benefit cancer patients in the future. As Finland lacks the proper resources for academic drug development, this collaboration will also teach us more advanced drug development practices from Belgium,” notes Professor Jukka Westermarck from the University of Turku.
“We are excited to collaborate with Professor Jukka Westermarck and his research group at the University of Turku on the development of small molecule inhibitors of CIP2A. The target itself, as well as the different types of expertise that are brought together in this collaboration create unique potential for the development of novel anticancer drugs. We anticipate that these drugs will be of great interest to many pharma companies and a large group of cancer patients,” says Director of Business Development Stefaan Allemeersch from CD3.