Atrin Pharmaceuticals Awarded $300,000 Phase 1 Contract for Development of Highly Specific ATR inhibitors for Targeted Cancer Treatment
Doylestown, PA (October 19, 2016): Atrin Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today announced receipt of a Phase 1 Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) Award (R41CA203436) for approximately $300,000 from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The award supports Atrin’s development of highly specific inhibitors of ATR for the targeted treatment of a broad spectrum of cancers.
ATR kinases are key cellular mediators of DNA damage repair that are critical to cancer cell survival in the face of increasing DNA damage over time. Atrin’s founders, while researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, were the first to highlight the importance of ATR as both a potential barrier to cancer progression and as a target for cancer treatment, especially in advanced, metastatic disease. The importance of ATR as an anticancer target has since been validated by others working in the field.
“We are very pleased that NIH has recognized the potential of our novel ATR inhibitors, which are orally bioavailable, water soluble, and offer high specificity and potency against a broad spectrum of cancer types, both as a single agent and in combination with other anticancer treatments,” said Oren Gilad, Ph.D., President, Chief Executive Officer of Atrin Pharmaceuticals and co-discoverer of the compounds. “Our lead molecules are currently entering the next stage of preclinical development, with human clinical trials projected to begin on an initial development candidate in early 2018.”
Atrin’s molecules have shown anti-cancer activity in a wide spectrum of tumor types (ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, lung, breast and colon) both as single agents and in combination with other anticancer treatments. Preclinical research in a human patient derived Stage 4 ovarian xenograft model has shown the combination of one of Atrin’s ATR-inhibitors, ATRN-119, and a PARP inhibitor to induce tumor regression beyond detection by ultrasounds, with limited side-effects. The company has also generated similar in vivo data in other tumor types including pancreatic cancer and colon cancer.