4SC Receives Funding from the Eurostars Programme
News Oct 03, 2015
4SC AG has announced the receipt of a grant from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research of up to EUR 450,000 as part of the Eurostars programme for continued research on its clinical epigenetic anti-cancer agents.
Eurostars is a European Union funding programme that provides targeted support to market-oriented R&D collaborations pursued by small and medium-sized enterprises. In line with the goals of this programme, 4SC applied for funding together with two other epigenetics companies from France and Spain.
4SC's research project supported by Eurostars named "EMTherapy" will start in October 2015 and is scheduled to run for just under three years. In this project 4SC will conduct additional preclinical research into its two clinical epigenetic compounds - resminostat and 4SC-202. This research will involve cell culture and animal models to investigate the properties of resminostat and 4SC-202 as immunomodulators, and their potential combination with immunotherapy agents such as checkpoint inhibitors. Further research will also be conducted on their mechanisms of action and possible combinations with other cancer drugs and to identify other potential indications for clinical applications.
Resminostat, 4SC's epigenetic lead compound, is an oral histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor that has already been examined in preclinical and clinical trials in indications such as liver cancer, lung cancer, Hodgkin's lymphoma, colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer and biliary tract cancer, and has shown promising activity as an immunomodulator in initial preclinical models. 4SC is currently preparing a clinical Phase II trial with resminostat in the indication of cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL).
Based on data from this study, 4SC will ideally be able to submit a filing for conditional approval for resminostat in the indication of CTCL in Europe. 4SC's second epigenetic compound 4SC-202, which has already undergone successful testing in a clinical Phase I trial in haematological tumours, possesses a unique mechanism of action, namely a combination of the epigenetic regulation of gene expression and the targeted combating of cancer stem cells.
Enno Spillner, CEO of 4SC AG: "Complementing the indications currently in clinical development for our two epigenetic drug candidates, we also see great potential for an immunomodulatory approach. Therefore, our goal is to use the grant money to conduct further research into resminostat and 4SC-202's 'Immune Priming' properties. Expressed simply, cancer cells have the ability to make themselves invisible to the patient's immune system, or to manipulate and weaken this system. We are now testing whether our compounds are able to restore tumour cell visibility for the immune system to either strengthen the immune system as it fights the cancer cells or improve the effectiveness of other immunotherapies. We published promising initial preclinical data on resminostat at the ITOC-2 conference back in March 2015 and these data were received with great interest."
Epigenetics is currently one of the most promising approaches in the fight against cancer. Epigenetics is a term used to describe functionally relevant changes to the genome which, unlike mutations, do not involve a change in the nucleotide sequence. Examples of epigenetic mechanisms include DNA methylation or histone modification, each of which alters how genes are expressed and consequently read or not read without altering the underlying DNA sequence.
Alongside genetic mutations, epigenetic 'programming errors' are very often the reason why previously healthy cells subsequently turn cancerous. The idea is for epigenetic compounds to correct these mistakes in genetic regulation and thus interrupt or combat the mechanism that is responsible for the onset of cancer.