12:00 AM
 | 
Oct 22, 2012
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Sprint: Quick start in cancer

Sweden's Sprint generates cancer metabolism, autophagy leads to out-license

Sprint Bioscience AB is leveraging its founders' expertise in fragment-based drug discovery and structural biology to generate leads against novel cancer metabolism and autophagy targets. The biotech hopes to out-license its therapeutics when the molecules show activity in cells.

While normal cells depend on mitochondrial oxidation to produce energy, cancer cells rely on the less efficient process of glycolysis to produce nutrients, amino acids and lipids needed for proliferation. Cancer cells also can rely on autophagy to survive in response to stress and thereby develop drug resistance.

"Cancer metabolism and autophagy are among the most important up-and-coming fields in cancer therapeutics," CEO Anders Aberg told BioCentury. "For our business strategy of out-licensing lead programs early, we need to work in emerging fields where there is great interest from potential partners."

Indeed, there are at least five companies with four inhibitors of cancer metabolism in Phase I/II to Phase III development, and at least six other companies with seven such inhibitors in preclinical development or discovery research.

At least one company - Ruga Corp. - also has autophagy inhibitors in preclinical development and discovery research.

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