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4SC Discovery receives research grant of EUR 600,000 for development of personalised cancer drugs
Munich m4 biotech cluster programme supports research collaboration with the Medical Clinic of the University of Munich on preclinical development of novel compounds for cancer immunotherapy
As part of the Munich-based leading-edge biotech cluster programme m4, the grant will support a research collaboration between 4SC Discovery and the project group for Immune Pharmacology (Dr. Sebastian Kobold) in the department of Clinical Pharmacology headed by Professor Dr. Stefan Endres from the Medical Clinic of the Ludwig-Maximilians University of Munich. The aim of this collaboration is to advance the preclinical development of so-called TLR7 and TLR8 agonists for use in cancer immunotherapy.
The project is intended to promote the further development of substances which influence the immune system of cancer patients in such a way that the immune system recognises the cancer cells and destroys them. Given that the ability of the immune system to react to abnormal cells depends significantly on the immune status and immune competence of the patient, personalised medicine pursues a therapeutic approach which involves a simultaneous biomarker analysis of the particular patients. The collaboration will start in November 2012 and is scheduled to run for a period of two years.
Dr. Daniel Vitt, Managing Director of 4SC Discovery GmbH and Chief Scientific Officer of 4SC AG, said: 'Alongside epigenetics and cancer stem cells, cancer immunotherapy is definitely one of the most exciting and dynamic areas of current cancer research. 4SC has been researching this field for years now and we are delighted to receive funding from the Munich biotech cluster of excellence, m4, to further intensify this research. Our objective in this subsidised collaboration with Professor Endres from the Medical Clinic of the University of Munich is to perform preclinical tests on our compounds and optimise them so that we can begin the clinical development of the compounds in patients soon.'
About 4SC's immunotherapy research projects in cancer medicine
Besides epigenetics and cancer stem cells, 4SC Discovery GmbH has a strong research focus on cancer immunotherapy. The aim of cancer immunotherapy is to develop substances that can influence the immune system of cancer patients in such a way that the patient's immune system recognises and destroys the primary cancer cells and tumour metastases.
Toll-like receptors represent a promising target class for cancer immunotherapy. They represent a kind of alarm system in the human body. The activation of this alarm system, for instance by 4SC's small molecule substances (TLR agonists), results in the stimulation of the immune system and a release of messenger and signaling molecules in the body, including interferons as well as other cytokines and chemokines. Applying a TLR agonist in combination with a chemotherapeutic drug, results in the destruction of the primary tumour bulk by the chemotherapeutic agent, while the activated immune system can achieve a final 'clean up' of undetectable tumour remainders which are otherwise often the cause for a later relapse of the disease. A further advantage of TLR agonists lies in the combination with various forms of vaccines. Thus TLR agonists have the potential to increase the efficacy of these cancer vaccines.
Having already achieved positive results in preclinical models, now an early development candidate (EDC) will be selected and brought into formal preclinical development with the intention of subsequently starting clinical development with this drug candidate.
About the leading-edge cluster programme 'm4 - Personalised Medicine and Targeted Therapies'
The TLR agonists project of 4SC is funded by the program 'm4 - Personalised Medicine and Targeted Therapies' for which the Munich Biotech Cluster was awarded 'Leading-Edge cluster status' by the German Federal Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF) in 2010. For a 5 year period, the program is funded with EUR 40 million from the BMBF, which are complemented by EUR 40 million from the participating companies in more than 40 cooperative R&D projects from industry and scientific institutions. The Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology supports the cluster management agency BioM and particular components of the concept with an additional EUR 12 million. For more information please visit http://www.m4.de/.
About 4SC Discovery GmbH
4SC Discovery GmbH is a wholly-owned subsidiary of 4SC AG that offers technologies and tailored research services covering drug discovery and chemical optimisation through to a preclinical development candidate. The company focuses its services on offering customers in the pharmaceutical, biotech and chemical industries the cost and time-to-market benefits that result from a drug discovery and optimisation process based on a powerful, computer-aided, screening and discovery platform. In addition, 4SC Discovery also applies its comprehensive pharmacological expertise to investigating new compounds in the areas of cancer and autoimmune disease - a strategy also intended to further enhance the clinical development pipeline for the 4SC Group. 4SC Discovery aims to engage in partnerships with pharmaceutical and biotech companies to accelerate the development of its research programmes and further advance their commercialisation.
This document may contain projections or estimates relating to plans and objectives relating to our future operations, products, or services; future financial results; or assumptions underlying or relating to any such statements; each of which constitutes a forward-looking statement subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control. Actual results could differ materially, depending on a number of factors.
For more information please visit www.4sc.com and www.4sc-discovery.de
The group managed by 4SC AG discovers and develops targeted small-molecule drugs for the treatment of diseases with a high unmet medical need in various autoimmune and cancer indications. These drugs are intended to provide patients with innovative treatment options that are more tolerable and efficacious than existing therapies, and provide a better quality of life. At the end of June 2012, 4SC Group had 90 employees. The company was founded in 1997. 4SC AG has been listed on the Prime Standard of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange since December 2005.
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