Tech Transfer eNews Blog

Yale start-up develops drug to fight off tumors of all cancer types


By Jesse Schwartz
Published: October 13th, 2021

A Yale University start-up is working on a drug that could fight tumors of all cancer types.

Cybrexa has developed a peptide-drug conjugate (PDC) known as CBX-12 that targets the acidic environment of cancer cells to deliver a toxic payload. The drug allows the peptide to form a corkscrew-like helix when it comes in contact with the acidic environment unique to tumor tissues. It then penetrates the cancer cell membrane and releases a potent cytotoxic agent called exatecan to kill off tumors.

“The novelty of CBX-12 is that it targets acidity, which is a universal feature of all tumors,” says Sophia Gayle, an associate director of biology at Cybrexa. “We are, therefore, able to deliver a potent anti-cancer therapeutic selectively to cancer cells in a much broader patient population, as opposed to antibody-drug conjugates that are restricted primarily to patients whose tumors express high levels of a target antigen.”

In a recent study performed on rodents, CBX-12 was shown to selectively destroy tumors without the need to target specific cancer antigens. In addition, rodents that experienced complete tumor regressions showed long-term immunological memory, so that if any tumors returned, the cancer wouldn’t grow.

According to Cybrexa, CBX-12 could be paired with checkpoint inhibitors — immune-boosting drugs that have established themselves as the new standard treatment across a range of tumor types — in order to help patients whose tumors don’t respond to immunotherapies alone.

The start-up has advanced CBX-12 into a phase 1 and 2 study. The phase 1 portion will examine the drug’s safety and tolerability in patients with solid tumors to determine the best dose for phase 2 testing.

Source: Fierce Biotech

Posted under: Tech Transfer e-News

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