Portuguese Biotech Aims to Take on Cancer With Dual Action Technology

This week, we’re escaping the rain in Berlin and heading to Coimbra in Portugal, to check out Treat U’s dual action cancer drug delivery system.

Mission: Treat U was formed in 2010 as a spin-out from the University of Coimbra. Looking particularly at the field of oncology, it aims to develop targeted nanotechnology for the targeted delivery of drugs. The hope is that this will improve the therapeutic efficacy of existing drugs and reduce their side effects, bringing massive benefits to patients, and reducing the spiralling costs for healthcare systems.

Its lead candidate, Pegasemp, delivers small molecule drugs to the tumor microenvironment, specifically targeting both cancer cells and the endothelial cells that make up the blood vessels feeding the tumor. The technology is currently at the pre-clinical stage, with therapeutic efficacy and safety demonstrated in animals models.

Comment: For me, the potential for Treat U’s Pegasemp technology to reduce side effects is particularly exciting. At the moment, cancer patients have to cope with horrendous side effects from chemotherapy on top of everything else that the disease throws at them, so this could make a big difference to their lives.

Hype currently surrounds CAR-T technology – following its FDA approval earlier this year – and TCR-based therapies developed by biotechs including Adaptimmune and Immunocore. Once Treat U’s dual-action technology enters the clinic, we will see how it compares with the big names of the cancer therapies field.


Image – saiko3p / shutterstock.com

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