H3 Biomedicine Inc. announced that it has launched research and development operations in Cambridge, Massachusetts. H3 Biomedicine will undertake a comprehensive approach to breakthrough oncology treatments based on two primary principles:
1) the genetics of patients' cancers can reveal drug targets tailored to their cancers and
2) the advances in modern chemistry enable the discovery of new classes of safe and effective drugs against these targets.
Researchers worldwide are for the first time understanding the genetic basis of human cancers, and H3 Biomedicine will use that knowledge to generate new cancer treatments aimed at fulfilling the promise of personalized cancer medicine.
H3 Biomedicine will achieve its goals through a unique relationship with the pharmaceutical company Eisai Inc. Eisai has pledged up to $200 million in research funding to H3 Biomedicine, as well as additional support for the clinical development of H3 Biomedicine programs. In addition, H3 Biomedicine will benefit from access to many of Eisai's drug development capabilities, allowing H3 Biomedicine to focus on first-in-class drug discovery innovation.
H3 Biomedicine's scientific founders are renowned researchers Stuart L. Schreiber, PhD, and Todd R. Golub, MD, who will serve as academic advisors to the company. As founding members of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, Drs. Schreiber and Golub have transformed the way medical research is done.
Dr. Schreiber's conceptual, experimental and leadership contributions have had a significant impact on chemistry, biology and medicine. Already, three new anti-cancer drugs that target cancer proteins discovered by Schreiber have been approved. In addition to his role at the Broad Institute, Dr. Schreiber serves as Morris Loeb Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Harvard University and an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Dr. Golub is a world leader in the genomic characterization of cancer. His work focuses on using the human genome to understand the biological and clinical challenges facing cancer medicine, and he has pioneered the use of genomic approaches to cancer biology and cancer drug discovery. In addition to his role at the Broad Institute, Dr. Golub is Charles A. Dana Investigator at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, and an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Unlike many biotech start-ups, H3 Biomedicine will have a unique relationship with Eisai that provides access to resources and capabilities of an established pharmaceutical company, while also encouraging and rewarding innovative and entrepreneurial spirit. Furthermore, the Eisai affiliation will enable H3 Biomedicine to take a longer-term view of its drug discovery activities than is typical of many venture-backed start-up companies. This model is thus intended to capture the best of both the biotech and large pharmaceutical company worlds.
Eisai's relationship with H3 Biomedicine also strengthens Eisai's commitment to advancing human health care through the development of medicines to treat unmet medical needs. "Our alliance with H3 Biomedicine represents a new approach to cancer drug discovery that holds enormous promise to help patients worldwide suffering from cancer," said Haruo Naito, President and CEO of Eisai Co., Ltd.
Kentaro Yoshimatsu, PhD, who serves as Chief Scientific Officer of Eisai Product Creation Systems, will take on the additional role of President of H3 Biomedicine. In this capacity, Dr. Yoshimatsu will ensure that H3 Biomedicine's unique business model is positioned for success while a search is conducted to identify a world-class leader to serve as Chief Scientific Officer of H3 Biomedicine.
In addition to its unique business model, the establishment of H3 Biomedicine represents a new paradigm for cancer drug discovery in which the ability to understand cancer genomes, coupled with advances in small-molecule science will serve as the foundation for creating the next generation of oncology treatments.
H3 Biomedicine will follow a disciplined approach to drug discovery, relating the genetics of specific cancers to their unique vulnerabilities, and developing drugs that target those vulnerabilities. Using biomarkers to guide clinical development, H3 Biomedicine intends to enable the practice of personalized medicine for oncology patients. This biomarker-driven model for drug development is also expected to shorten clinical development timelines and reduce clinical trial costs.