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12:00 AM
 | 
Nov 08, 2010
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Epitherix: Surrounding Wnt

Epitherix hopes selective Wnt inhibitors will kill cancer, spare healthy cells

Despite ample research describing the causative role of overactive Wnt signaling in many cancers, identifying effective inhibitors has been difficult for two reasons. First, the pathway is complex and incompletely understood, making it hard to accurately model in screening assays. Second, it consists primarily of intracellular protein-protein interactions, which are difficult to reach with proteins and difficult to disrupt with small molecules.

Using an assay that more completely models Wnt signaling in cancer cells, Epitherix LLC has identified a previously unknown target that it says is amenable to small molecules and is capable of shutting down the pathway in cancer cells while sparing healthy cells. The company is planning its first IND submission for 4Q11.

Co-founder and CEO Osman Kibar told BioCentury most other Wnt programs have focused on inhibiting upstream targets, but that these are circumvented by downstream mutations that continue to increase Wnt signaling.

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