Press release


25/07/2013
SOM Biotech licenses a product for glioblastoma to Argon Pharma pharmaceuticals
Ramón Roca, CEO de Argon; Oscar Peña, CSO de Argon; Raúl Insa, CEO de SOM Biotech

SOM Biotech, based at the Barcelona Science Park (PCB), has licensed to Argon Pharma, also located at the PCB, a new product with potential properties for the treatment of multiple glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor. SOM0777 is an inhibitor of αvβ3 and αvβ5 integrins, proteins actively involved in the binding of cells to their environment.
 
The molecule has a completely new chemical structure and has shown efficacy in vitro against malignant cells in ovarian cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer and fibrosarcoma, so it is an ideal candidate for the development of a screening program and identifying new prototype (Hit to Lead) integrin inhibitors with potential for treating several other cancer indications in addition to glioblastoma.

SOM0777 has been discovered thanks to the virtual screening computational platform of SOM Biotech. Achieving this goal has involved an effort of over three years and an investment of over € 240,000.00, which was made possible thanks to private capital and public grants and loans from the Agency for Business Competitiveness (ACC1Ó) of the Generalitat de Catalonia and the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality (Dynamization program) and Economy and Competitiveness (Torres Quevedo subprogram).

Now, the next challenge is to optimize SOM0777, since it has never been administered to humans, and develop new oral treatments from this molecule by the catalan pharmaceutical Argon Pharma which has acquired the rights to the product.

Glioblastoma, also known as glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common tumour and malignant neoplasms among glia (cells that accompany the neurons in the brain) with a median survival of approximately 14 months. It is considered an uncommon disease or rare disease and affects 2-3 per 100,000 people per year, which represents about 21,000 people in Europe and 1,200 in Spain, according to Orphanet´s data, the information portal of reference for rare diseases and orphan drugs.

According to Dr. Raúl Insa, director of SOM Biotech "Despite major research efforts, there is no drug under approval process for this disease, the closest phase to patients, which indicates that we are still far from providing an effective medical treatment. Only surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy is the most that can be offered. In our country there are a handful of companies and foundations committed to research against glioma and SOM Biotech is among these companies. After the discovery of the product SOM0777 we have started two new lines of research that we hope will yield results in the coming years. "

Argon Pharma has discovered a broad-spectrum antitumor potential in the SOM Biotech molecule and plans to frame the future development in the European project SOM0777 "WispATDrug" to obtain a new oral anticancer candidate tumor for glioblastoma into preclinical regulatory development.

"The European project" WispATDrug "aims to develop new oral anticancer drugs for indications with significant unmet medical needs, such as glioblastoma multiforme. Argon Pharma is interested in developing drugs identified as inhibitors of focal adhesions with the ability to inhibit a broad spectrum of cancer cell lines, as demonstrated by SOM Biotech´s molecule. Thus, this compound has the potential to be developed for more than one indication, including high prevalence cancers - said Oscar Peña, Scientific director of Argon Pharma.

About SOM Biotech

SOM Biotech SL is a start-up pharmaceutical company based at the Barcelona Science Park, founded in 2009, with the mission is to carry out research, identification, experimental demonstration, intellectual property, clinical proof of concept and licensing of new applications and medical indications for marketed drugs (repositioning or reprofiling). The identification is performed by a technological solution of virtual screening developed by the own company. SOM has a broad portfolio of products under development covering both rare diseases (for TTR amyloidosis, Huntington's disease and glioblastoma multiforme) and other therapeutic areas (Alzheimer's disease and benign prostatic hypertrophy). Currently, it has filed five new patents for new medical indications and collaborates with leading pharmaceutical companies worldwide.

About Argon Pharma

Argon Pharma founded as the result of technology transfer from the Research Institute of the Hospital of St. Paul and the University of Barcelona, focuses on the development of anticancer agents and therapeutic biodegradable polymers with applications in the release of drugs. The company has so far succeeded in obtaining more than 1 million of public funding to complete preclinical regulatory trials for its drug Oncostane, an innovative oral therapy for pancreatic cancer. It also leads the European project "WispATDrug" that aims to develop new oral broad spectrum drugs for tumor indications with significant unmet medical needs. The project, which lasts for three years, has a budget of € 1.507.000 and is funded by the initiative of the ERA-NET Eurotransbio as part of the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union.

 
 
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