BI, Vanderbilt Partner in Small Molecules

Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) has formed a new multi-year collaboration with Vanderbilt University, based in Nashville, Tennessee, for research and development of small-molecule compounds targeting the protein, Son Of Sevenless (SOS). The SOS protein activates KRAS, a molecular switch that plays a central role in the onset of some cancers, according to BI.

The new collaboration combines research in the laboratory of Stephen Fesik, an Orrin Ingram professor in cancer research at Vanderbilt University, with BI’s drug discovery and clinical development expertise and further strengthens BI’s oncology pipeline, focused on tumor cell-directed cancer treatments, new approaches in immune oncology, and their combinations. This collaboration builds on an ongoing joint project between BI and Vanderbilt University initiated in 2015 that identified lead compounds that bind to KRAS with high affinities.

Mutations in the genes that encode KRAS are among the frequent cancer drivers. They contribute to some of the more aggressive cancers, including up to 25% of lung, 35-45% of colorectal, and about 90% of pancreatic tumors, according to BI. The company aims to accelerate the discovery of targeted therapies by researching multiple approaches including direct inhibition of KRAS and indirect inhibition via SOS.

Source: Boehringer Ingelheim 

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