Development of anti-cancer Candidate Drug with unique mechanism


The project goal is to develop a compound with a significant effect in a relevant animal cancer model – ready to enter regulatory toxicology studies

We propose to to develop small molecule histone deacetylase 6 (HDAC6) inhibitors to a Candidate Drug (CD), i.e. a compound with a significant effect in a relevant animal cancer model, ready to enter regulatory toxicology studies. At the clinical development stage, Kancera will forward the project into clinical trial phase together with a partner such as a pharmaceutical company.

Compared to the most advanced HDAC6 inhibitor today (Acetylon ́s ACY-1215 in phase 2), Kancera ́s current HDAC6 inhibitors show a higher isoform HDAC selectivity, a higher potency against cancer cell lines, and a higher selectivity for cancer cells over healthy cells. A HDAC6 isoform selective drug is expected to have a high anti-metastasizing effect and induce less side effects compared to the pan-HDAC inhibitors used in the clinic today.

Due to a recently identified second anti-cancer mechanism of Kancera ́s inhibitors in addition to HDAC6 inhibition, the project has a high likelihood of resulting in a CD with a unique mechanism of action and a superior therapeutic profile compared to the competition. For researchers at Karolinska, the developed compounds constitute unique research tools allowing exploration of the pathophysiology and drug sensitivity of e.g. multiple myeloma, thus providing a basis for new or improved treatment modalitites of severely ill cancer patients.

The two partners, the drug discovery company Kancera and CCK/Karolinska Hospital, cover a large part of the necessary competencies to drive the project to the CD stage. Kancera will perform the chemistry and in-vitro assays while CCK/Karolinska will perform the functional biology assays and provide patient material. X-ray crystallography, ADME, and in-vivo studies are planned to be subcontracted to SARomics Biostructures AB (Lund), MetaSafe AB (Södertälje), and Adlego Biomedical AB (Stockholm).



Project leader Johan Schultz, Kancera AB
Funding from SWElife 2000 000 SEK
Call for proposal SWElife spring 2015 call, for proposals for collaborative innovation projects within non-communicable diseases
About the project at Vinnova (in Swedish)