The methodology underpinning the NCTI is based on an understanding of critical mechanisms linked to tumor dependencies and maintenance beyond genetic mutations. To facilitate the discovery of NCTs, DarwinHealth will provide Bristol Myers Squibb proprietary information residing in its drug databases, including tumor context-specific analyses of Master Regulators of distinct tumor subtypes, as well as direct upstream modulators.
"The collaboration is focused on identifying novel, high-value cancer targets across a range of pre-selected tumor subtypes, with an eye towards identifying novel targets that are recurrent among different types of cancer, leading to the design and development of drugs with multi-subtype indications," said Gideon Bosker, MD, Chief Executive Officer, DarwinHealth. "Once identified and prioritized, these targets can undergo rigorous experimental validation to drive drug development for a new generation of anti-cancer therapies that could be developed by Bristol Myers Squibb."
"The novel cancer targets will be selected and prioritized based on their role as either Master Regulators (MRs) or Master Regulator Upstream Modulators (MRUMs) within the Tumor Checkpoint module of a specific human malignancy," said Professor Andrea Califano, Chair, Department of Systems Biology, Columbia University, and Co-Founder and Chairman of Scientific and Medical Advisory Board, DarwinHealth. "We believe that the mechanism-based insights, as provided by DarwinHealth's precision oncology-focused systems biology platforms, can substantially accelerate the development of drugs targeting non-oncogene dependencies that underpin and drive key cancer hallmarks."
The NCTI agreement represents an important extension and scientific leveraging of the ongoing Compound-2-Clinic (C2C) multi-year collaboration initiated with Celgene on August 28, 2019, which aims to assess, characterize, and prioritize for clinical development and experimental validation the oncology-relevant bioactivity of a pre-specified library of Bristol Myers Squibb compounds.
As part of the NCTI collaboration, DarwinHealth will receive an upfront payment and has the potential to receive development and commercialization milestone payments.
DarwinHealth: Precision Therapeutics for Cancer Medicine is a "frontiers of cancer," technology-focused company, co-founded by CEO Gideon Bosker, MD, and Professor Andrea Califano, Clyde and Helen Wu Professor of Chemical Systems Biology and Chair, Department of Systems Biology at Columbia University. The company's technology was developed by the Califano lab over the past 14 years and is exclusively licensed from Columbia University.
DarwinHealth utilizes proprietary, systems biology algorithms to match virtually every cancer patient with the drugs and drug combinations that are most likely to produce a successful treatment outcome. "Conversely, these same algorithms also can prioritize investigational drugs and compound combinations of unknown potential against a full spectrum of human malignancies, as well as novel cancer targets," explained Dr. Bosker, "which make them invaluable for pharmaceutical companies seeking to both optimize their compound pipelines and discover mechanistically actionable, novel cancer targets and compound-tumor alignments."
DarwinHealth's mission statement is to deploy novel technologies rooted in systems biology to improve clinical outcomes of cancer treatment. Its core technology, the VIPER algorithm, can identify tightly knit modules of master regulator proteins that represent a new class of actionable therapeutic targets and predictive biomarkers in cancer. The methodology is applied along two complementary axes: First, DarwinHealth's technologies support the systematic identification and validation of druggable targets at a more foundational, deep state of the cancer cell's regulatory logic so we and our scientific partners can exploit next generation actionability based on fundamental and more universal tumor dependencies and mechanisms. Second, from a drug development and discovery perspective, the same technologies capable of identifying potentially druggable novel targets based on master regulators, and upstream modulators of those targets. This is where the DarwinHealth oncotectural approach, with its emphasis on elucidating and targeting tumor checkpoints, provides its most important solutions and repositioning roadmaps for advancing precision-focused cancer drug discovery and therapeutics.
The proprietary, precision medicine-based methods employed by DarwinHealth are supported by a deep body of scientific literature authored by its scientific leadership, including DarwinHealth CSO, Mariano Alvarez, PhD, who co-developed the company's critical computational infrastructure. These proprietary strategies leverage the ability to reverse-engineer and analyze the genome-wide regulatory and signaling logic of the cancer cell, by integrating data from in silico, in vitro, and in vivo assays. This provides a fully integrated drug characterization and discovery platform designed to elucidate, accelerate, and validate precise developmental trajectories for pharmaceutical assets, so their full clinical and commercial potential can be realized. For more information, please visit: www.DarwinHealth.com.