Cancer Research UK and Turbine to partner on program

January 5, 2023 - 3 minutes
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Cancer Research Horizons, the innovation engine at the core of the world’s largest private funder of cancer research, Cancer Research UK, has announced that it is partnering with Turbine AI, a tech-enabled biotech leveraging its proprietary Simulated Cell platform to solve complex diseases.

The partnership will utilize Turbine AI’s platform to identify target patient populations who could benefit from CDC7 inhibitor therapy with Cancer Research Horizons’ lead compound CRT’2199.

CRT’2199 originates from Cancer Research Horizons’ Therapeutic Innovation. CDC7 is a protein that plays a vital role in the regulation of cell division in normal cells. However, dysregulation of CDC7 can lead to the formation of cancer cells, and overexpression of this protein is correlated with poor clinical prognosis in diverse cancers of significant unmet patient need.

No phase 3 trials

Despite its role in the progression and outcome in many cancers, no CDC7 inhibitors have progressed to phase III trials, and a clear picture is lacking on what types of cancer could be effectively and safely treated by inhibiting CDC7.

The partnership aims to change this. Using Turbine’s AI powered-simulation approach, Turbine AI and Cancer Research Horizons will inhibit CDC7 in digital cancer cells that represent different patient populations, in order to determine which cancer types and patient populations are most likely to respond to treatment with CRT’2199.

Turbine AI will receive a revenue share of Cancer Research Horizon’s future revenues from the CDC7 inhibitor program upon successful commercialization in exchange for identifying and validating a disease positioning strategy.

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Simulated Cell technology

Turbine’s Simulated Cell technology uses machine learning to train digital versions of cancer cells to behave in the same way that real cancer cells would, enabling simulations to show how cancer cells react to different triggers, such as transcriptomic changes and anticancer drugs.

Predictions based on this biological understanding provide insights at any point of the drug discovery and development process and can guide subsequent real-life experiments that increase the likelihood of success for a project.

Tony Hickson, chief business officer for Cancer Research UK and Cancer Research Horizons said: “We know that CDC7 inhibitors hold enormous potential as a class of anti-cancer therapeutics, but the problem so far has been finding the right patients who could benefit from them.

“This is why we are excited to be partnering with Turbine to develop novel patient selection strategies for our CDC7 inhibitor compounds. Bolstered by Turbine’s unique capabilities, we hope to gain novel insights into the activity of these drug candidates, bringing closer the day when we could see them reach the clinic to benefit patients who need them.”

Series A funding

“Turbine’s technology provides a unique opportunity to gather insights into cancer cell behavior at a scale and speed which isn’t possible to achieve in a traditional drug discovery setting,” said Daniel Veres, chief science officer and co-founder, Turbine. 

“We’re looking forward to working with Cancer Research Horizons to identify suitable patient populations for its CDC7 inhibitors and accelerate their clinical development, in the name of hopefully bringing important new therapeutic options to patients that need them as quickly as possible.”

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Turbine AI is a Budapest-based biotech company that leverages computational simulations to solve complex questions in oncology. Turbine recently raised €20 million ($21.1 million) in series A funding to expand its offering.

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