Secarna and Firebrand in Cancer R&D pact

  • Secarna and Firebrand in Cancer R&D pact  (c) Nicolas Loran/Getty ImagesSecarna and Firebrand in Cancer R&D pact (c) Nicolas Loran/Getty Images

Germany’s Secarna Pharmaceuticals and Firebrand Therapeutics of the US have entered a co-development agreement for novel cancer therapies. The target is to combine Secarna's proprietary antisense oligonucleotide platform LNAplusTM with Firebrand’s knowhow in researching mechanisms of cancer metastasis to pursue novel targets playing a key role in cancer metastasis.

Secarna launched its third generation LNAplus platform, which it said encompasses all aspects of drug discovery and pre-clinical development, in June of this year. Together, he companies will attempt to address challenging or previously “undruggable” targets in a number of organ systems.

The LNAplus-based ASOs have previously been validated by in-house projects as well as in academic and industry collaborations, the German company said. Secarna has 15 development programs focusing on targets and indications such as immuno-oncology, immunology, antiviral, fibrotic diseases, ophthalmology, neurodegenerative diseases and cardiometabolic diseases, where it said where antisense-based approaches have clear benefits.”

Firebrand’s drug discovery and development expertise is grounded in the work of Yibin Kang at Princeton University, whose research focuses on understanding molecular mechanisms of cancer metastasis by applying modern molecular biology, genomics, and computational biology approaches.

Jonas Renz, managing director and co-founder of Secarna Pharmaceuticals, said the agreement is a “significant milestone “ for the company, which will  further validate its approach to develop highly specific, safety-optimized and efficacious antisense oligonucleotide therapies.

Antisense oligonucleotides are gaining “tremendous momentum§ following recent drug approvals, Renz noted.

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