There is a new collaboration in the rare cancer space which could lead to improved therapies for individuals living with these conditions. Sheperd Therapeutics and Oncoheroes Biosciences have announced that they will now collaborate with one another on the rare cancer treatments. This includes their discovery, continued development, and eventual commercialization.
There are currently 400 known cancer types. Of these, 380 are rare.
Unfortunately, 75% of clinical trials don’t specifically include rare cancers.
Pediatric cancer is rare in and of itself. It accounts for 1% of all of the cancer diagnoses in the United States and leads to 90,000 deaths per year.
Of childhood deaths from disease overall, cancer is the leading cause. However, research just isn’t keeping up.
There have only been 5 pediatric cancer therapies approved by the FDA in the past 20 years. For adults, that number is over 200.
About the Collaboration
These two companies will utilize the technology from Sheperd to develop new therapies. This technology platform is called DELVE. It integrates machine learning, bioinformatics, and math to find treatments that will provide the best outcomes for patients.
This integration means that researchers can utilize many different approaches simultaneously to develop therapies faster and more thoroughly.
The First Project
The first project that this partnership is working on is for the therapy called Volasertib. The goal is to develop an understanding of other rare cancers that this therapy could benefit. Currently, it has been given Orphan Drug Designation and Rare Pediatric Disease Designation from the FDA for rhabdomyosarcoma. Rhabdomyosarcoma is a soft tissue sarcoma affecting children. It is the most common of this type of cancer.
The therapy inhibits PLK1, which is an enzyme which leads to disease progression in many different cancers.
You can read more about this specific project and the new partnership here.