Sprint Bioscience is constantly looking for highly interesting starting points for preclinical drug development projects, primarily in the field of cancer. Through a collaboration with Dr Julian Walfridsson at Karolinska Institutet, the company will identify new target proteins suitable for the treatment of blood cancer. The project has now been rewarded with a 2.5 MSEK research grant from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research.
The preclinical development company Sprint Bioscience specialises in preclinical development focuses on the innovation and development of small molecular drug candidates for cancer. The company’s business strategy involves taking its projects from idea to preclinical studies and then entering licensing agreements with external actors.
Experts in fragment-based drug development
In order to develop new candidate molecules, a method of fragment-based drug development is applied, which involves taking advantage of existing knowledge about the molecular structures of individual proteins, and then gradually building up a new drug molecule.
Using a proprietary method, Sprint Bioscience selects smaller molecules – fragments – that have the capacity to bind to the desired target protein. Subsequently, the fragments are used to tailor a drug molecule that can block the target protein, thus knocking out cancer cells that depend on the target protein for their survival.
Collaboration in blood cancer
According to the company, to find new ways to achieve an optimal treatment effect in cancer patients, new target proteins that meet two important criteria must be identified. Firstly, they should affect the survival and growth of tumour cells in a new way. Such new target proteins can be the starting point for medicines that can meet tangible medical needs and at the same time have great commercial potential.
Sprint Bioscience has long cooperated with Dr Julian Walfridsson at Karolinska Institutet. The current project aims to identify new target proteins for acute myeloid leukaemia (AML), one of the most common forms of blood cancer where the medical need is still great. This enables the development of new alternative treatments that generates improved treatment outcomes while reducing the risk of side effects.
Capital injections from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research
The project has now received a research grant of 2.5 MSEK from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research (SSF). The capital injection, which does not involve any dilution for the company’s shareholders, means that the project can now be further accelerated. The parties will work together on a methodology to identify new target proteins relevant to AML, which, once developed, will also be applied to other types of cancer. Sprint Biosciences aims to deliver target proteins that can become starting points for new drug programs to the company’s already broad pipeline in the near future.
The company’s head of research, Martin Andersson, commented on the grant in a press release:
»This collaboration with researchers at Karolinska Institutet builds on the successful method of fragment-based drug development that has become Sprint Biosciences’ hallmark. The financial support from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research is very welcome, as it increases the possibilities to develop improved treatments for patients with acute myeloid leukaemia and other life-threatening cancers.«
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