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Archive - Dec 20, 2019

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Combination of Chemo Drug (Imatinib) and Diabetes Drug (Metformin) Shows Potential for Treating Ewing Sarcoma

Ewing sarcoma, an aggressive tumor that commonly affects bones in adolescents and young adults, is diagnosed in approximately 225 American children and teens every year, accounting for about 1 percent of pediatric cancers. Although Ewing sarcoma has been studied for decades, it has no effective cure and a survival rate of just 20-30% for patients who relapse; furthermore, most treatments require surgical resections or amputation and this impacts quality of life of the patients. But a research team at Houston Methodist aims to change those odds. A new possibility for treatment is proposed by Stephen Wong (photo), PhD, John S. Dunn Sr. Presidential Distinguished Chair in Biomedical Engineering and Professor of Computer Science and Bioengineering in Oncology at Houston Methodist. He is proposing a combination of two well-known drugs as a new treatment option for Ewing sarcoma--the chemotherapy drug imatinib and the diabetes drug metformin. A report describing the research of Dr. Wong and colleagues on this possible treatment option was published in the January 2020 issue of Cancer Letters. The article is titled “Imatinib Revives the Therapeutic Potential of Metformin on Ewing Sarcoma by Attenuating Tumor Hypoxic Response and Inhibiting Convergent Signaling Pathways.”

[Press release] [Cancer Letters abstract]

Triplet Therapeutics Launches with $59 Million in Financing to Further Its Development of Transformative Treatments for Triplet Repeat Disorders; Company Targets DNA Damage Repair (DDR) Pathway in Huntington’s Disease and Nearly 40 Other Diseases

On December 17, 2019, Triplet Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company harnessing human genetics to develop treatments for repeat expansion disorders at their source, launched today with $59 million in financing including a $49 million Series A financing led by MPM Capital and Pfizer Ventures U.S. LLC, the venture capital arm of Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE). Atlas Venture, which co-founded and seeded Triplet with a $10 million investment, also participated in the Series A financing, alongside Invus, Partners Innovation Fund and Alexandria Venture Investments. Triplet Therapeutics was founded in 2018 by Nessan Bermingham, PhD, a serial biotech entrepreneur and venture partner at Atlas Venture, along with Atlas Venture and Andrew Fraley, PhD, to pursue a transformative approach to developing treatments for repeat expansion disorders, a group of more than 40 known genetic diseases associated with expanded DNA nucleotide repeats. A significant body of human genetic evidence has identified that one central pathway, known as the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway, drives onset and progression of this group of disorders, which include Huntington’s disease, myotonic dystrophy, and various spinocerebellar ataxias. Triplet is developing antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) and small interfering RNA (siRNA) development candidates to precisely knock down key components of the DDR pathway that drive repeat expansion. This approach operates upstream of current approaches in development, targeting the fundamental driver of these diseases. By precisely reducing activity of select DDR targets, Triplet’s approach is designed to halt onset and progression across a wide range of repeat expansion disorders. The company has a fully assembled senior management team of industry veterans.