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MMRF and Inflection collaborate on new cancer treatment
March 2015
by Jeffrey Bouley  |  Email the author
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DUBLIN & NORWALK, Conn.—Inflection Biosciences Ltd., a private company developing what it calls “highly innovative” treatments for cancer, announced in February a collaboration with the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) on preclinical testing of its dual-mechanism PIM/PI3K inhibitor IBL-202. PIM and PI3K are two key regulators in signaling pathways that have proved essential for the proliferation and survival of myeloma cells.
 
The MMRF investigators will test the effectiveness of IBL-202 alone and in combination with other therapeutics in preclinical models of multiple myeloma. These models are recognized to be predictive of clinical efficacy in cancer patients with multiple myeloma. IBL-202’s dual-mechanism kinase inhibition is said to selectively inhibit PIM and PI3K without affecting the activity of other kinases.
 
“Initial preclinical data we have generated for IBL-202 holds promise for those patients suffering with multiple myeloma,” according to Darren Cunningham, CEO of Inflection Biosciences. “MMRF support will greatly assist us in further evaluating the potential of IBL-202 for patients with multiple myeloma, one of the many indications we hope to consider.”
 
The MMRF is working with Inflection Biosciences through its Translational Network of Excellence program, which supports critical research at leading academic medical centers focused on promising investigational therapies for multiple myeloma.
 
“Inflection Biosciences, and its innovative PIM/PI3K program, is precisely the type of visionary biotech/pharma partnership the MMRF is committed to, in our relentless pursuit of promising treatment options for multiple myeloma,” according to Walter M. Capone, president and CEO of the MMRF. “The MMRF launched its Translational Network of Excellence last year to advance the most promising research for novel targets and drug validation, immune biology, myeloma-related diseases and minimal residual disease. We are tremendously excited to partner with Inflection Biosciences in the development of this novel and potentially promising therapy.”
 
Dr. Michael O’Neill, director of research and development at Inflection Biosciences, added, “This collaboration with a leading cancer research foundation is a tremendous validation for our compound and our work so far. We look forward to working with the MMRF and its network of researchers to establish the effectiveness of our compound in multiple myeloma.”
 
In other recent MMRF news, but on the discovery-oriented front in this case, MMRF announced that it has partnered with Cambridge, Mass.-based GNS Healthcare, a provider of analytics solutions for driving personalized interventions that improve population health, in a collaboration to speed the discovery of innovative treatments for patients with multiple myeloma.
 
The effort is said to “combine the unprecedented genomic and clinical data from the MMRF’s landmark CoMMpass Study with revolutionary GNS machine learning platforms and rapid computer simulations. The work supports the development of computer models of myeloma disease that may uncover novel molecular pathways that can prevent progression of disease and address the unmet treatment needs of patients with multiple myeloma.”
 
CoMMpass is a longitudinal study of 1,000 newly diagnosed patients with active multiple myeloma. Its objective is to map each of these patients’ genomic profiles to clinical outcomes to develop a more complete understanding of patient responses to treatments.
 
“Through creative, dynamic partnerships, we continually build new research models to accelerate development of the most promising treatments for patients with multiple myeloma,” said the MMRF’s Capone. “This collaboration with GNS to apply leading-edge computer models and analytics to uncover disease pathways in the diverse CoMMpass data set exemplifies this strategy.”
 
GNS will use an in-silico process, applying its MAX architecture and patented REFS inference engine and simulation platforms to the CoMMpass data. REFS will identify causal drivers and underlying molecular processes of disease progression. REFS will also discover the most likely targets for therapeutics to treat, and perhaps to predict and prevent, relapses and refractory disease. REFS will also discover predictive diagnostic biomarkers that determine which treatments will work and for which patients.
 
“This work embodies the transformative role for Big Data analytics to uncover specific treatment protocols that have a much better chance of success for individual patients,” says Colin Hill, CEO and co-founder of GNS. “REFS turns large datasets into computer models that reveal new molecular pathways and targets that, up until now, could not be easily identified. It ultimately accelerates many of the traditional steps in the drug discovery and development process, bypassing obstacles that often delay or prevent promising, new treatments from reaching patients.”
 
Code: E031512

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