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Onconova & Pangea announce research collaboration for hard-to-treat cancers

New York-based Onconova Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing new products for can patients and Tel Aviv-based Pangea Biomed, a company combining machine learning and deep RNA analysis to expand access to precision oncology,  have recently announced a research collaboration programme that will leverage Pangea Biomed’s algorithmic platform, ENLIGHT, to identify biomarkers of response to Onconova’s investigational product candidate rigosertib.

Announcing the collaboration agreement, President and Chief Executive Officer of Onconova Dr Steven M. Fruchtman stated, “Rigosertib’s ability to potently inhibit PLK1 and modulate the tumour immune microenvironment confers broad potential to treat a range of solid cancers.”

“By leveraging Pangea’s AI platform to identify predictive biomarkers of response to rigosertib, we aim to inform a precision medicine approach to selecting additional PLK1-dependent tumours and other indications for its potential evaluation. We believe this approach will increase the probability of success for rigosertib’s future development programs,” he added.

Stressing that precision medicine is the future of oncology, Chief Executive Officer of Pangea Biomed Dr Tuvik Beker said, “Gaps in the industry’s current biomarker approaches overly narrow patient populations for promising drugs.”

“ENLIGHT goes beyond standard biomarkers to expand patient populations for targeted therapies, in addition to surfacing new biomarkers for existing drugs. We are hopeful our platform can help Onconova accelerate rigosertib’s successful development in a variety of difficult-to-treat cancers,” he added.

The ENLIGHT platform is a pan-cancer response predictor that evaluates in vitro, preclinical, and clinical datasets to build genetic interaction maps that infer functional relationships between gene pairs to reveal tumour vulnerabilities to specified therapies.

According to a joint statement, the companies will chart genetic interactions related to PLK1 to identify a biomarker of response to rigosertib based on its inhibitory activity against this protein and then use the ENLIGHT platform to generate additional genetic interaction maps around other pathways targeted by rigosertib.

Under the terms of the agreement, Onconova will retain all rights to rigosertib and it will own any intellectual property developed as a result of the research collaboration, according to the statement.

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