Beyond Biotech podcast 63 – Fighting cancer with STRIs

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cancer tumor

This week’s podcast is sponsored by Vetter.

On this week’s episode, we have a conversation with Steve Worland, CEO of eFFECTOR Therapeutics. eFFECTOR is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company pioneering the development of a new class of cancer drugs referred to as STRIs (selective translation regulation inhibitors). 

eFFECTOR’s STRI product candidates target the eIF4F complex and its activating kinase, mitogen-activated protein kinase interacting kinase (MNK). The eIF4F complex is a central node where two of the most frequently mutated signaling pathways in cancer, the PI3K-AKT and RAS-MEK pathways, converge to activate the translation of select mRNA into proteins that are frequent culprits in key disease-driving processes. 

The company’s product candidates are designed to act on a single protein that drives the expression of a network of functionally related proteins, including oncoproteins and immunosuppressive proteins in T cells, that together control tumor growth, survival and immune evasion. 

The lead product candidate, tomivosertib, is an MNK inhibitor currently being evaluated in KICKSTART, a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 2b trial of tomivosertib in combination with pembrolizumab in patients with metastatic non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). 

Zotatifin, eFFECTOR’s inhibitor of eIF4A, is currently being evaluated in phase 2a expansion cohorts in certain biomarker-positive solid tumors, including ER+ breast cancer and KRAS-mutant NSCLC.

eFFECTOR has a global collaboration with Pfizer to develop inhibitors of a third target, eIF4E.

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