PEP-Therapy, Institut Curie and Gustave Roussy obtain 2,9 M€ to develop a novel peptide in oncology
Driven by PEP-Therapy, a biotechnology company which develops peptide targeted therapies in oncology, the Clever-Peptide project aims to develop a therapeutic peptide and its companion biomarker up to clinical proof of concept.
PEP-Therapy, in association with the Institut Curie and Gustave Roussy hospitals, two of the leading comprehensive cancer centres in Europe, combine their complementary skills - the design of innovative peptides, translational research, pharmaceutical development and oncology clinical trials - that they will use to the benefit of this new therapeutic approach, to make it accessible to patients.
The project will also be supported by a partnership with a biopharmaceutical company focused on oncology, a pioneer in translational medicine.The consortium will receive a total of 2,9 M€ funding from Bpifrance and the Ile-de-France Region.
The peptide, named PEP-010, is based on a patented technology of bi-functional penetrating and interfering peptides. These peptides act as smart shuttles, by penetrating into the heart of the cell to deliver an agent, which specifically blocks targets implicated in pathological mechanisms.
They act in a targeted fashion, without altering physiological mechanisms, thereby limiting the risk of toxicity. PEP-010 causes cancer cells to die without harming healthy cells. The peptide has demonstrated its anti-tumour efficacy in pre-clinical models, predictive for clinical trials as well as its safety in animals. Furthermore, predictive companion biomarkers associated with efficacy of treatment have been identified and patented. They could make it possible to identify patient populations that may respond to treatment.
“We are seeing a resurgence in peptides as an effective therapeutic solution and in particular as a targeted therapy. Our technology is the proof of this. On this innovative basis, I am looking forward to developing a new therapeutic approach with prestigious partners”, says Antoine Prestat, CEO and co-founder of PEP-Therapy.
Regulatory toxicology studies are ongoing, the final stage before Phase I/II clinical trials. They will be conducted at Institut Curie and Gustave Roussy, in patients with cancer for whom conventional therapies are no longer an option, starting with triple-negative breast cancer.
“This project is a prime example of what is the essence of Institut Curie, with a molecule developed at the Institut Curie's research centre in the Preclinical Investigation Laboratory, and a Phase I first-in-human trial that will be conducted at the Institut Curie's hospital complex within D3i (Department of Drug Development and Innovation)” says Professor Christophe Le Tourneau, head of D3i at Institut Curie, and who has worked on the project for several years and will be the coordinating investigator of the clinical trial. “We are very pleased with the funding of the Clever-Peptide project that adds a new dimension to the partnership that Institut Curie has developed in recent years with PEP-Therapy, a spin-off of the Institut” commented Amaury Martin, Director of Tech Transfer and Industrial Partnerships at Institut Curie.
“This partnership with PEP-Therapy and our colleagues at Institut Curie is a perfect fit with the missions of the Department of Therapeutic Innovation and Early Trials (DITEP) at Gustave Roussy that aim at evaluating in Phase I new molecules coming from academic and biotechnological research” said Dr Eric Angevin, Alliance Manager and Investigating Physician at DITEP. “The Clever-Peptide project is a new example of the commitment of Gustave Roussy in research and innovation industrial partnerships, in particular with young biotechnology healthcare companies such as PEP-Therapy” declared Isabelle Pelletier-Bressac, General Manager at Gustave Roussy Transfert, the Gustave Roussy tech transfer subsidiary.