Glactone Pharma receives funding from Swelife and Medtech4health

2018-05-24

In strong competition and after external examination, Glactone Pharma in collaboration with researchers from Karolinska Institutet and Lund University has been awarded a SEK 1,000,000 (approx. USD 115,000) grant from Swelife and Medtech4health, two Swedish national life-science innovation programs funded by Vinnova, Sweden’s Innovation Agency. Glactone Pharma’s funded project, STAT3 inhibition as immunotherapy for the treatment of prostate cancer, aims to investigate the mechanism behind the combination effect of STAT3 inhibition and immunotherapy. Unravelling the mechanism is an important step in the development towards an effective immunotherapy for prostate cancer. The call for applications was aimed towards projects that have a strong innovation potential and that address unmet medical needs and demands from patients, caregivers and healthcare systems.

Glactone Pharma is a Swedish biotech company developing novel drugs that can inhibit the transcription factor STAT3, a highly relevant drug target in cancer. The project is a collaboration with Dr Andreas Lundqvist, Associate Professor, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Oncology-Pathology and Professor Anders Bjartell, Department of Translational Medicine, Medical Faculty, Lund University. Glactone Pharma will provide expertise in drug development as well as access to the company’s candidate drug. The groups of Dr Lundqvist and Professor Bjartell will provide expertise in the areas of tumor immunology and prostate cancer respectively.

The objective for this project is to investigate the mechanism that links STAT3 inhibition to increased efficacy of checkpoint inhibition immunotherapy in prostate cancer. Using advanced models of prostate cancer, the interactions between immune cells and prostate cancer cells following STAT3 inhibition will be studied. Having this information is very important in order to predict which patients might respond and to guide the optimal treatment, thereby increasing the chances of success in future clinical trials.

Martin Johansson, CEO of Glactone Pharma, says: “Immunotherapy is one of the most exciting and promising areas of drug development today. However, many limitations exist. With the funding for this project, we can address a great unmet medical need and potentially bring forward an innovative and effective treatment for prostate cancer patients. We are very grateful to be recognized in this way and we look forward to collaborating with two leading Swedish academic institutions.”

About immunotherapy
Immunotherapy is a treatment modality that activates and utilizes the body’s own immune system to recognize and attack tumors and is today the fastest growing and most promising area of cancer research. With the great potential that immunotherapies offer for cancer patients, a large interest in novel immunotherapies has arisen.

About STAT3
STAT3 (Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3) is a transcription factor/signaling protein that is frequently activated in many forms of cancer.

STAT3 is a highly promising target in cancer with both preclinical and clinical data supporting the important roles that STAT3 plays in cancer occurrence and progression. In particular, STAT3 is involved in mechanisms that enable tumors and cancer cells to evade the immune system and become treatment resistant.

STAT3 is an intractable drug target as it is an intracellular protein with no enzymatic activity and is activated by multiple upstream factors. Despite STAT3 not being a “classic drug target”, Glactone Pharma has developed orally bioavailable small molecule inhibitors that can directly inhibit the function of STAT3.

About Glactone Pharma
Glactone Pharma is a biotech company within PULS and is based on ground-breaking science from Lund University in Sweden. PULS is a Swedish life science company with a unique combination of scientists and industrialists who together with innovators are commercializing ideas by providing capital, know-how and committed partnership.
Glactone Pharma has developed a pipeline of novel potential drugs that target the STAT3 transcription factor for the use in immuno-oncology and for the treatment of advanced treatment resistant cancers. STAT3 is directly involved in tumor mediated immune suppression and in treatment resistance making it an ideal target in combination treatments.
To read more, visit www.glactone.com and www.pulsinvest.se.

About Vinnova
Vinnova is Sweden’s government agency for innovation. Vinnova’s vision is for Sweden to become a leading global player in research and innovation. The mission is to contribute to sustainable growth by improving the conditions for innovation. Vinnova does this mainly by funding innovation projects and the research needed to develop new solutions. Vinnova also invests long term in strong research and innovation environments. Learn more at www.vinnova.se.

For more information, please contact
Jan Törnell, Chairman of the Board, Glactone Pharma AB, +46 (0)70 676 00 08 or jan.tornell@pulsinvest.se
Martin Johansson, CEO, Glactone Pharma AB, +46 (0)76 006 60 29 or martin.johansson@glactone.com