Pharma Focus Europe

Shasqi's Plans for Expanding Ongoing Research Collaboration to Enhance Targeted Cancer Treatment

Thursday, October 05, 2023

Shasqi, Inc., a clinical-stage biotechnology company with a mission to enhance the efficacy of cancer drugs through click chemistry, has recently announced the expansion of its ongoing research collaboration with Johnson & Johnson Enterprise Innovation Inc.

This partnership will involve Shasqi's application of its clinically validated Click Activated Protodrugs Against Cancer (CAPAC®) technology to advance the development of new cancer therapies. Specifically, the research will focus on the further development and preclinical testing of an additional therapeutic payload for Shasqi's intratumorally injected biopolymer, SQL70.

Dr. José M. Mejía Oneto, the founder and CEO of Shasqi, emphasized the distinctive feature of CAPAC, which separates tumor targeting from the payload. This separation enables the optimization of drug activity while minimizing potential toxicities during the development and clinical phases. Dr. Mejía Oneto expressed confidence that this expanded collaboration would facilitate the assessment of the efficacy of a new payload in conjunction with the biopolymer activator, ultimately leading to the identification of a promising clinical candidate.

Shasqi's CAPAC platform stands out by utilizing chemistry, rather than biology, to activate drugs within the tumor. CAPAC consists of two distinct components: a tumor-targeting agent and a cancer therapeutic. Once the protodrug is systemically delivered to the tumor, the cancer therapeutic is activated through Nobel Prize-winning click chemistry technology. CAPAC enables Shasqi to deliver high doses of cancer drugs precisely to the tumor site while minimizing harm to healthy cells. Notably, Shasqi is the first company to apply click chemistry in human patients.

Mukul Agarwal, Chief Business Officer at Shasqi, highlighted the modular nature of the CAPAC platform, which offers opportunities for the rapid evaluation of various payloads and the development of innovative therapies with specific attributes. The decision to expand this collaboration reflects the productive and collaborative relationship that Shasqi has established with its partners.

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