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Sprint announces target protein for VADA project

Martin Andersson

Sprint Bioscience has announced that after a series of preclinical research advances in the VADA project, it has been decided to publish the project’s target protein.

The goal is to develop drug substances that inhibit the protein vaccinia-related kinase 1 (VRK1) in order to enhance the effects of immuno-oncology therapy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy. The company believes that this approach paves the way for a unique position in the market for innovative drug projects and will now initiate contacts with potential partners.

VRK1 inhibitors have the capacity to enhance the body’s immunological defense against cancer cells

The new target protein VRK1 acts by regulating the activity of several other proteins that together regulate cell division and cell responses to DNA damage. Previous scientific studies have shown elevated levels of VRK1 in a variety of cancers, as well as a correlation between the increased levels and poorer survival of patients with cancer of, for example, liver, kidney and pancreas. VRK1 inhibitors have the capacity to enhance the body’s immunological defense against cancer cells and thus have the potential to function in combination with other therapies such as immuno-oncology therapy, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Enter a phase of business discussions with potential partners

The company has previously chosen not to publish the name of the current drug target in order to first secure a clear lead against potential competitors and thereby strengthen its business position. In light of the latest advances in the project, the assessment is that the company has now reached such a level that the target protein can be made public and conversations started with interested partners.

“There is a great deal of interest in the industry for drug candidates that can improve the efficacy of immuno-oncology drugs and other types of cancer therapies. The recent preclinical research advances in the VADA project enable us to finally announce our new target protein and we are pleased to now enter a phase of business discussions with potential partners,” says Martin Andersson, Chief Scientific Officer at Sprint Bioscience.

Photo of Martin Andersson, CSO: Sprint Bioscience