Cambridge/UK and Berlin/Germany, May 2, 2016 – Sentinel Oncology and NMI TT Pharmaservices today announced that they have received grant funding for the development of a companion diagnostic to compliment the ongoing drug development activities within Sentinel Oncology for the treatment of the Fragile X Syndrome (FXS), a genetically inherited orphan disease that manifests itself in intellectual disability, for which no treatments are currently available.
The funding, totaling more than 500k Euros over a duration of 18 months, has been awarded to their project consortium named ‘FXSFIX’, under the Eurostars program (www.eurostars-eureka.eu) of EUREKA and the European Commission for research and development performing small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Within the jointly agreed work plan, Sentinel Oncology will conduct studies in parallel with the ongoing SOL101 development activities to identify clinical markers of efficacy for use in future clinical trials of SOL101 in FXS patients. Based on promising proof of concept studies with small molecule compound SOL101, Sentinel Oncology’s candidate drug, the programme will now focus on completing a pre-clinical development package for subsequent clinical advancement of SOL101, of which the output of the FXSFIX project will be a key addition. NMI TT Pharmaservices will conduct a biomarker discovery and development programme, leveraging its innovative DigiWest multiplex protein profiling technology for the identification and validation of diagnostic biomarkers of SOL101. DigiWest is a novel proprietary immunoassay technology that allows simultaneous analyses of hundreds of total and phospho proteins per sample, which has already proven valuable in a number of other lead characterisation and biomarker research projects. Together, the project partners aim to generate a compelling drug-and-diagnostic package that will then be jointly out-licensed to a bigger pharma company.
Robert Boyle, CEO of Sentinel Oncology, commented “We are very pleased about this Eurostars funding, as it allows us to significantly enhance our ability to develop a drug and companion biomarker for what we believe could become a breakthrough treatment for FXS patients and their families”. Professor Hugo Hämmerle, CEO of NMI TT GmbH, added “Knowing the power of our protein profiling approach for biomarker discovery, it is now extremely exciting for us to apply our expertise for addressing the pressing needs of FXS patients”.