Mutations affecting the RAS gene isoforms are the most common phenomenon in several cancer types. Scientists have struggled to find a drug that can target the right cells and combat the disease. South Korean biotech startup Orum Therapeutics has developed a way to block the activity of RAS in tumour cells affecting cancer treatment.
Next Generation Antibody Therapy
Orum is creating the next generation of antibody therapies. The biotech company and its cell-penetrating antibody platform can transform antibodies to effectively target undruggable cytosolic targets, such as KRAS. This provides new opportunities to treat severe genetic diseases and cancer. Orum’s antibody platform can target specific cell types and does not require chemical conjugation.
Orum published data in 2017 presenting that systemic administration of the antibody developed by them had selective anti-tumour activity, targeting mutant RAS, in early-stage animal models for human colorectal cancer and fibrosarcoma. The company in a statement said that the treatment had “measurable antitumor activity” in mice with tumours containing a RAS mutation.
The CEO and Co-founder of Orum, Sung Joo Lee said, “As an anti-cancer therapy, our cell penetrating antibodies are easy to produce, allow for systemic administration that is well tolerated, and have desirable pharmacological properties.” He added, “We believe this could be a very important first-in-class therapeutic for hard-to-treat pancreatic, colon and non-small cell lung cancers.”
Expanding to International shores
In 2016, Orum Therapeutics was selected to participate in the Tech Incubator Program for Startup (TIPS), a program that supports promising startups. In 2017, the startup raised $8 million as their Series A investment to support their work on the monoclonal antibody. The Daejeon based biotech firm had investments from InterVest, KB Investment/Solidus Investment, and LB Investment. The company recently expanded.
Earlier in 2018, Orum Therapeutics moved to a bigger office and lab location in Daejeon. The company expanded their reach to Boston, USA. Sung Joo Lee said, “We look forward to joining the strong biotech ecosystem in Massachusetts and working with talented individuals who are passionate about bringing new medicines to patients with life-threatening illnesses.”