Pharma Focus Europe

Menarini & Insilico Medicine's Global License for KAT6 Inhibitor in Breast Cancer Treatment

Friday, January 05, 2024

The Menarini Group, a major international pharmaceutical and diagnostics company, in collaboration with its subsidiary Stemline Therapeutics and Insilico Medicine, a clinical-stage AI-driven biotechnology firm, has announced an exclusive licensing agreement. Stemline has been granted global rights to develop and commercialize a novel small molecule KAT6A inhibitor, created using Insilico's AI platform. This inhibitor shows promise as a potential treatment for hormone-sensitive cancers and other oncology indications.

Breast cancer, the most commonly diagnosed tumor type among women globally and a leading cause of cancer-related deaths, poses significant challenges. The majority of breast cancers are estrogen receptor positive (ER+), and endocrine therapy is a crucial component of the treatment. However, resistance to endocrine therapy can develop, highlighting the need for innovative therapies.

KAT6A plays a crucial role in various cancers, particularly in ER+/HER2- breast cancer, where its overexpression is linked to poor clinical outcomes. Preclinical studies of the molecule, presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, demonstrated potent inhibition against KAT6A in multiple models, showing promising efficacy and safety.

"We are thrilled to collaborate with Insilico to explore a new treatment approach using generative AI and potentially unlock transformative cancer therapies," said Elcin Barker Ergun, CEO of the Menarini Group. Stemline aims to enhance patient outcomes by targeting KAT6A in breast cancer and beyond.

Insilico's R&D team designed the novel molecule with its Pharma Generative AI platform, aiming to inhibit KAT6A and block the endocrine receptor (ER) at the transcriptional level. This design offers potential solutions to resistance issues with endocrine therapies.

Stemline will make an upfront payment of $12 million to Insilico, with the total deal value exceeding $500 million, including development, regulatory, and commercial milestones, along with royalties. Stemline, known for its focus on bringing transformative oncology treatments, is well-positioned to lead the molecule through development and clinical trials.

"We are excited about the potential of our latest AI-designed therapy for breast cancer patients," says Alex Zhavoronkov, PhD, founder and co-CEO of Insilico Medicine. Stemline's innovative vision and commitment to oncology make them the ideal partner to advance this promising molecule into development and clinical trials.



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