12:00 AM
 | 
Jul 16, 2007
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Aquinox: Shipping around

Aquinox Pharmaceuticals Inc. is developing compounds that modulate new targets in the PI3K pathway, which the company believes may provide the hoped-for benefits of PTEN agonists while circumventing their limitations in cancer, as well as working in inflammatory diseases.

PTEN is a tumor suppressor gene in the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway that prevents the activation of protein kinase B (PKB, Akt). When activated, Akt leads to inhibition of apoptosis and stimulation of cell proliferation and contributes to tumor resistance to both chemotherapy and targeted therapies. Because of this role, agonizing PTEN is the goal of many cancer compounds in development.

But PTEN can lose its ability to function through mutation, homozygous deletion, loss of heterozygosity or epigenetic loss of expression. PTEN genetic abnormalities are seen in...

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