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Aglaia Therapeutics: a new start-up from Institut Curie & Gustave Roussy raises €4M to fight resistance to targeted therapies

Institut Curie
09/24/2021
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Institut Curie and Gustave Roussy, Europe's leading cancer centers, announced the creation of their spin-off Aglaia Therapeutics, co-founded with the investment fund Advent France Biotechnology. The start-up has just raised €4M for the development of next-generation therapies capable of overcome the resistance of tumor cells to targeted therapies. The funds will be used to accelerate the preclinical studies needed to identify its first drug candidate to bring into clinical development.
Aglaia Therapeutics

Founded in 2021, Aglaia Therapeutics (Tx) is a biotechnology company dedicated to the development of next-generation oncology therapies. The company focuses on fighting tumor cell resistance to targeted therapies by specifically targeting the mRNA translation step. Indeed, although targeted therapies are a valuable tool for destroying tumors, their main limitation remains the decrease in the effectiveness of this treatment over time. This results in the development of resistance to targeted therapies and the survival of small populations of cancer cells, often leading to relapse.

Aglaia Therapeutics (Tx) was born from the union of the scientific and medical expertise of its co-founders, Stéphan Vagner, PhD,head of the Genome Integrity, RNA and Cancer Unit (Institut Curie, CNRS, Inserm), and Professor Caroline Robert, head of the dermatology department and co-director with Stéphan Vagner of the translational research group on melanoma within the Inserm U981 unit at Gustave Roussy. While the researcher had been studying mRNA translation for many years, the clinician quickly identified the potential medical applications of such a theme. Their studies highlighted the importance of the process of regulating mRNA translation in the context of cancer.

Translational control is a vulnerability of cancer that can be targeted to limit its progression and overcome resistance to treatment. It is this very precise deciphering that allows us to consider new therapies that target this mRNA translation process. Thanks to the creation of Aglaia Therapeutics and this first round of financing with AFB, we will be able to take another step towards the clinic.

rejoiced Stéphan Vagner and Caroline Robert.

The company has announced a seed funding round of €4 million - led by Advent France Technology (alongside Crédit Mutuel Innovation and Pierre Fabre) - reflecting the quality of its project and the success of a co-creation between two leading institutions in the fight against cancer, as is delighted to report Cécile Campagne, head of Institut Curie’s Technology Transfer Office:

We are very happy with the birth of this spin-off, which brings the number of Institut Curie spin-offs to 28, and with this joint creation with Gustave Roussy. After two previous start-ups founded together (Dosisoft and Propulse), Aglaia Therapeutics is further proof of the capacity for innovation in oncology of these two Parisian institutions and of our ability to work together to fight cancer, a disease that is still too difficult to treat.

Christophe Javaud, Chief Operating Officer of Gustave Roussy Transfert, said:

The creation of Aglaia Therapeutics, based on the excellence of the work conducted by Prof. Caroline Robert and Stephan Vagner, is further proof of Gustave Roussy's ability to develop high-potential entrepreneurial projects. Aglaia Therapeutics is paving the way for innovative and extremely promising new therapeutic approaches.

The funding will enable Aglaia Tx to accelerate the preclinical studies necessary to identify its first drug candidate to bring into clinical development. In addition, a collaboration between Aglaia Tx, Gustave Roussy, Institut Curie and the University of Strasbourg, for the validation of targets involved in certain types of cancer, will allow the company to continue to work with the research and clinical teams of Caroline Robert, Stéphan Vagner and Laurent Desaubry, CNRS research director at the University of Strasbourg and co-founder of Aglaia Tx.