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Feb 16, 2015
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

COX-ing cancer into submission

How Euclises is developing COX-2 inhibitors without GI effects for cancer

Euclises Pharmaceuticals Inc. is developing two COX-2 inhibitor programs, one via a prodrug approach and one using deuteration, which are designed to minimize the gastrointestinal side effects that curtailed development of first-generation inhibitors for cancer. The company is initially targeting refractory cancers, including those where patients have failed drugs that target the VEGF-dependent angiogenesis pathway.

Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) controls production of prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), a factor that is involved in angiogenesis through a pathway independent of VEGF, along with apoptosis, inflammation and immune suppression.

Tumors also can secrete PGE2, which is a key part of the tumor microenvironment that can promote tumor cell growth and proliferation, according to Robert Beardsley, a Euclises director and an advisor to the company. He said COX-2 drives colorectal cancer and non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).

First-generation COX-2 inhibitors like Pfizer Inc.'s Celebrex celecoxib and Merck & Co. Inc.'s Vioxx rofecoxib were approved for pain and autoimmune indications but were also developed...

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