Project: Lead optimization for innovative, orally bioavailable wide spectrum antitumor drugs.

Most chemotherapeutics currently on the market interfere with DNA synthesis by inhibiting its replication or cell division. All these drugs have a major side-effect in common: their toxicity on normal, healthy cells, especially in those with high replication rate (blood and intestinal cells). Most of them have an uncomfortable intravenous administration and require hospital attendance representing an important cost for the national health service. We will focus our research on providing novel, orally available drugs for oncology, in particular indications having an important unmet medical need such as orphan cancer indications. For these indications, there is a potentially unexplored market. The disappointing results in recent years achieved by competitors show that these diseases still represent an unoccupied niche that could be a profitable target for our new drug development. The current approach will be addressed to design innovative drugs capable of inhibiting a mechanism of action (focal adhesion) that is associated with carcinogenic processes for a variety of oncology indications. It represents a novel and effective way to combat cancer. The inhibition of focal adhesion induces apoptosis and causes irreversible cell death of tumor cells but leaves normal cells untouched. The drugs identified as inhibitors of this encouraging mechanism, have the ability to inhibit a wide spectrum of cancer cell lines and have the potential to be developed for more than one indication, including high prevalence cancer. This opens the door to engage diverse preclinical developments for more than one indication of the new candidates identified during the project. This approach might help the partners to find larger pharmaceutical companies willing to share the costs of the preclinical and clinical development of the candidate and reaching agreements for future exploitation of the product in different world markets. The present project intends to develop innovative oral drugs with improved toxicity profile, more convenient dosage and ease of formulation to improve the patient’s quality of life and welfare during and after the treatment. Towards this end, a strong and capable consortium of biotech companies and SMEs has been set-up with complementary expertise in lead finding and lead optimization (i.e. rational drug design, medicinal chemistry, screening technologies and ADME/Toxicity). The international composition of this group also offers the benefit of increasing the collaboration between European industries and public research centers and of generating intellectual property.

Acronym WispATDrug
Network ETB-PRO
Call 7th call for proposals (Call 2012)

Project partner

Number Name Role Country
Germany Germany
FI Finland
Argon Pharma S.L. Coordinator Spain