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Three new small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) - Syncom, Synvolux Therapeutics and InteRNA Technologies - have joined public-private partnership TI Pharma by participating in two new projects. These projects, focusing on cancer and inflammatory diseases, have a total budget of nearly 6 million euros.
The new consortium, formed by Syncom, Synvolux Therapeutics, and University Medical Center Groningen, focuses on designing a versatile drug delivery system for inflammatory diseases and cancer. Another new consortium is formed by InteRNA Technologies, Utrecht University and VU University Medical Center, and focuses on the development of anti-angiogenic microRNA-based therapeutic products for the treatment of cancer.
Versatile drug delivery platform for inflammatory diseases and cancer
New molecular entities (NMEs) in the drug development pipeline comprise various classes of kinase inhibitors that cause unacceptable toxicity in humans. Proper formulation might circumvent side effects and improve their general therapeutic efficacy. However, currently, no appropriate formulation technology is available for these kinase inhibitors.
This project focuses on a systematic approach in which chemical modification of NMEs is combined with drug formulation studies. This will lead to a versatile drug delivery platform for future clinical application of kinase inhibitors in the treatment of cancer and chronic inflammatory diseases. "This approach is expected to make targeted drug delivery finally meet its expectations, as it will become available for a variety of drug classes that are under development in the pharmaceutical industry," according to the consortium members.
Development of novel anti-angiogenic miRNA based therapeutics
"Conventional cancer treatment such as surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy are far from sufficient, therefore, new strategies of cancer treatment are needed more than ever," says Roel Schaapveld, Chief Executive Officer, InteRNA. There is a large body of evidence indicating that tumor growth and metastasis formation are dependent on the formation of new blood vessels. Furthermore, angiogenesis is an early event in the development of tumors, being already switched on in pre-cancerous events and long before visible or clinically relevant tumor mass is present. Schaapveld: "These two features make angiogenesis an ideal target for the development of novel anti-cancer strategies."
The recent discovery that non-coding RNAs, called microRNAs (miRNAs), play a critical role in gene regulation provides new opportunities to discover RNAs that can control angiogenesis. The major aim of this project is to establish a technology platform for the development of (anti-cancer) therapeutics based on angiostatic miRNAs. miRNA is utilized as a therapeutic modality and advanced nanoparticle delivery systems accomplish intracellular delivery of nucleic acid agents. These will be combined with the identification of surface receptor targets on tumor blood vessels to allow for therapeutic intervention. Eventually, this will result in the development of anti-angiogenic miRNA-based therapeutic products for the treatment of cancer.
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