Biopharma company Atrin Pharmaceuticals, a drug discovery and development company focused on molecules targeting DNA damage and repair (DDR) pathways to treat cancer, and gene-based analytics company Predictive Technology Group say they have successfully tested a collaborative genomics analysis for more accurate clinical trial screening for ATRN-119, an ATR inhibitor with therapeutic potential across a broad range of cancers. The company anticipates initiating first-in-human trials this year.
According to a press release, the two companies have been actively collaborating to develop better approaches to identify which patients with specific mutations that drive cancer tumor growth, regardless of tumor type, and who are most likely to clinically respond to synthetically-lethal anti-cancer therapies. The goal is to create a platform for more targeted and efficient recruitment of patients for clinical trials.
“Our collaboration with Predictive, as shown in this genomics analysis, is already resulting in improved targeting of eligible patients for the upcoming Phase 1/2a ATRN-119 clinical study, and could potentially result in adoption of a new diagnostic for this type of anti-cancer treatment,” said Oren Gilad, Ph.D., president and CEO of Atrin. “Predictive’s unique genomic insights and modeling provide Atrin with enhanced diagnostic tools to accelerate Atrin’s DDR therapies and studies.”
According to Atrin, the company’s focus on DDR drug development represents a multi-billion opportunity, which could ultimately see DDR therapies applicable to more than 200 different cancer targets, if it and other can develop the appropriate targeting biomarkers in patients.
In the current collaboration, the companies released results of an analysis that showed Predictive’s assays in patients with a specific tumor type found an excess of DDR mutations in cancer cells compared with normal tissue.
Specifically, the analysis found 92 genes that are protein responders to ATRN-119 treatment, of which 18 genes are known TIER 1 cancer-driver genes, while well-characterized mutations were found in three dominant genes. Both in vitro and animal studies have confirmed synthetically-lethal interactions between ATRN-119 treatment and alteration of these three key cancer-causing genes. The overlap between DDR genes responding to ATRN-119 and those mutated in cancer cells suggest that genetic markers underlying response and resistance will be critical to optimizing patient selection in ATRN-119 clinical studies, by increasing clinical efficacy and minimizing systemic toxicities.
“We believe that the Atrin collaboration is a ‘game changer’ that will result in improved design and faster clinical advancement of multiple individualized, precision oncology treatments,” said Bradley Robinson, president and CEO of Predictive Technology Group. “By combining our state-of-the-art proprietary screening assay and related artificial intelligence capabilities with Atrin’s breakthrough DDR therapy candidates, we have the potential to become a leader in development of improved personalized oncology therapies. Both of Predictive’s main entities, Predictive Laboratories and Predictive Analytics, are involved in this ongoing DDR research with Atrin.”