Atomwise and OncoStatyx announce Joint Venture to develop small molecule inhibitors of oncology target KDM5B
SAN FRANCISCO, California, and CLEVELAND, Ohio – Atomwise, Inc. the leader in artificial intelligence (AI) for drug discovery, announced today the launch of a joint venture with OncoStatyx, LLC, an oncology focused preclinical stage biotechnology company based in Ohio. The joint venture will discover and develop small molecule compounds that inhibit KDM5B, lysine-specific demethylase 5B, a key epigenetic modulator protein, as an anti-cancer agent, especially for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC).
Atomwise will use its proprietary AI technology to iteratively model interactions between the KDM5B pharmaceutical target and putative inhibitor compounds. Inhibition of KDM5B will reactivate expression of the tumor suppressor protein HEXIM1, which plays an important role in turning off the cancerous state in multiple types of solid tumor cancers, including TNBC. OncoStatyx will provide proprietary information concerning interactions between the target and current lead compounds that inhibit KDM5B at nanomolar concentrations in cancer cells – a potency significantly better than published compounds. By combining the capabilities of both companies, the joint venture will be able to rapidly expand successful chemotypes and also optimize OncoStatyx’s current lead compounds to create clinical candidates. OncoStatyx will perform biochemical and biological testing and evaluation of the most promising compounds produced at each step of the collaboration.
“We’re extremely pleased to be launching a joint venture with Atomwise and see it as a significant validation of our approach,” says Matt Lawes, PhD MBA, CEO and Co-Founder of OncoStatyx. “Our collaboration will be transformative for a scrappy Midwestern upstart like OncoStatyx and levels the playing field for us in very significant ways. It allows us to stay both ultra-lean and fast and pursue a novel approach to treating solid tumor cancers by switching off multiple cancerous properties. Disrupting cancer: faster, better, cheaper. Why not?!”
“Entrepreneurial biotech companies and academic spin-outs, such as OncoStatyx, are engines of innovation and discovery,” says Abraham Heifets, PhD, CEO and Co-Founder of Atomwise. “We are excited to partner with the OncoStatyx team who are committed to novel treatments that will have meaningful impact on patient health.”
“As an academic researcher it’s very gratifying to see the translation of my lab’s work on tumor suppressor HEXIM1 into potential clinical medicines,” says Monica Montano PhD, Professor of Pharmacology at Case Western School of Medicine, and CSO and Co-Founder of OncoStatyx. “We are planning to develop the first medicine to induce the expression of a tumor suppressor as the primary therapeutic approach to treat solid tumor cancers. I’m very interested to see what emerges from the collaboration between Atomwise and OncoStatyx, certainly things will move a lot more quickly now with access to Atomwise’s expertise.”
Atomwise, Inc. invented the first deep learning AI technology for structure-based small molecule drug discovery. Created in 2012, today Atomwise performs hundreds of projects per year in partnership with some of the world’s largest pharmaceutical and agrochemical companies, as well as hundreds of universities and hospitals in 19 countries. Atomwise has raised over $50 million from leading venture capital firms to support the development and application of its AI technology.
OncoStatyx, LLC is a preclinical stage drug development company. Founded in 2013 and based in Cleveland, Ohio, OncoStatyx is focused on developing inexpensive, safe and orally bioavailable small molecule therapeutics with the potential for treatment of a broad range of solid tumor cancers such as breast, prostate, lung and colorectal cancers.