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Glactone Pharma announces appointments to new Scientific Advisory Board

Pressmeddelande   •   Feb 04, 2016 06:00 CET

Glactone Pharma is pleased to announce the appointment of leading experts to its newly formed Scientific Advisory Board. The board will provide guidance and expertise that further strengthens the company’s research and development portfolio. Glactone Pharma is a discovery stage biotech company developing novel small-molecule inhibitors of STAT3 to enhance the efficacy and response of immunotherapies in immuno-oncology and for the treatment of advanced prostate cancer.

The inaugural members of Glactone Pharma’s Scientific Advisory Board, who bring both clinical and preclinical expertise to the project, are:

  • Michael Atkins, Deputy Director of the Georgetown-Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center in Washington, DC and Professor of Oncology and Medicine (Hematology/Oncology) at Georgetown University School of Medicine, USA
  • Hua Yu, PhD, Billy and Audrey L. Wilder Professorship in Tumor Immunology Co-leader, Cancer Immunotherapeutics Program, City of Hope, CA, USA
  • Norman J Maitland, PhD, Professor, Director Cancer Research Unit, University of York, UK
  • Rolf Kiessling, Senior Professor of Experimental Oncology and Senior Consultant at the Oncology Clinic, Karolinska University Hospital, Solna, Sweden.

Martin Johansson, CEO of Glactone Pharma, said: “We are proud and honoured to have these leading experts and scientists as members of our advisory board. The knowledge that they bring is invaluable to us and will ensure that Glactone Pharma is a leader in the field of STAT3 inhibition and increase our chances of addressing unmet medical needs and helping patients.”

Glactone Pharma is continuing to profile its proprietary small molecules in immuno-oncology models to determine the most effective ways of combining STAT3 inhibition with immunotherapies and in models of treatment resistant prostate cancer.

STAT3 is one of the most promising targets in cancer due to its involvement in many key disease processes including proliferation, tumor induced immunosuppression, drug resistance and metastasis. However, STAT3, which is a so called transcription factor, lacks the druggable characteristics of enzymes and cell receptors making it a very difficult drug target. Furthermore, it is an intracellular molecule and as such not amendable to be targeted by antibodies. Glactone Pharma has built a strong portfolio of small-molecule STAT3 inhibitors based on the naturally occurring STAT3 inhibitor GPA500. The innovators behind Glactone Pharma have previously demonstrated that GPA500 binds directly to STAT3 and that this prevents the function of STAT3 regardless of up-stream activators.

About immuno-oncology
Immuno-oncology therapies are drugs or vaccines that have the ability to activate the immune system to recognize cancer cells and destroy them. Immunotherapy has the potential to revolutionize cancer treatment. One strategy of immunotherapy involves targeting checkpoint molecules that act as brakes on immune cells with e.g. PD-1 and PD-L1 antibodies, thereby unleashing a more powerful immune response. However, a majority of patients treated with anti-PD-1/PD-L1 monotherapies do not achieve objective responses and most tumor regressions are partial. To increase the number of patients who benefit from immune checkpoint blockade, combination treatments are necessary. Preclinical models have indicated possible targets for combination treatment including STAT3.

About STAT3 and GPA500
The transcription factor STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3) is a protein that is involved in several mechanisms of carcinogenesis including the regulation of genes involved in cell proliferation, differentiation and metastasis. Constitutively active STAT3 is known to contribute to tumor progression and is considered a key factor in tumor induced immunosuppression and drug resistance. STAT3 is an ideal target for cancer therapy and inhibition of STAT3 represents a highly promising strategy in immuno-oncology.

GPA500 is a small molecule inhibitor of the transcription factor STAT3 with a unique mechanism of action. GPA500 directly inhibits STAT3 and reduces the proliferation of prostate cancer cells in vivo and in vitro. With GPA500 as a lead, Glactone Pharma has developed novel proprietary STAT3 inhibitors with improved drug-like properties.

About prostate cancer
Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common form of cancer in men in the developed world, and it ranks second in cancer-related deaths, with the vast majority of these fatalities resulting from metastatic disease. There is a great need to find novel drugs with increased efficacy and reduced toxicity that can be used to prolong the effect of androgen receptor antagonists or be used when the disease becomes resistant to androgen receptor antagonists.

About Glactone Pharma
Glactone Pharma is a biotech company within PULS, a unique Swedish development company in life sciences, and is based on ground-breaking science from the University of Lund in Sweden. Glactone Pharma has developed a pipeline of novel potential drugs that target the STAT3 transcription factor for the use in immuno-oncology and for the treatment of castration resistant prostate cancer (CRPC). STAT3 is directly involved in tumor mediated immune suppression and resistance to androgen inhibition therapy making it an ideal target in combination treatments. To read more visit www.glactone.com and www.pulsinvest.se.

For more information please contact:
Jan Törnell, Chairman of the Board, Glactone Pharma, +46 (0)70-676 00 08 or jan.tornell@pulsinvest.se
Martin Johansson, CEO, Glactone Pharma, +1 705 768 0603 or martin.johansson@glactone.com

P.U.L.S. (Partners för Utvecklingsinvesteringar inom Life Sciences) är ett unikt utvecklingsbolag inom life science. PULS investerar i tidiga projekt och aktivt utvecklar dem i nära samarbete med innovatörerna hela vägen från idé till attraktiva projekt för industrin. Sedan 2002 har PULS startat tio projektbolag och avyttrat tre, varav ett är börsintroducerat (LIDDS). PULS har sitt huvudkontor i Helsingborg. PULS pågående projekt är: AcuCort, Adenovir Pharma, Glactone Pharma, Laccure, Oncorena och Trophea. www.pulsinvest.se.

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