Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) will provide preclinical research infrastructure and services designed to accelerate into clinical phases the development of Jasco Pharmaceuticals’ lead investigational agent, the PIM inhibitor JP_11646 designed to fight solid tumors and blood cancers.

In a first-of-its-kind collaboration for the small molecule cancer drug developer and the institute, Jasco and RPCI will join to pursue further preclinical development of the agent, including pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) analysis to define its efficacy, its toxicity, and how cells respond to it. The project is the first to take advantage of RPCI’s Center for Drug Development, a new program that joins previously separate operations of the institute.

JP_11646 targets a class of kinase enzymes that help regulate cancer cell survival. In preclinical studies, Jasco’s lead agent has shown promising activity against multiple myeloma as well as solid tumors that include breast, colon, liver, lung, and pancreas cancers.

JP_11646 is among Jasco’s PIM kinases, serine/threonine protein kinases with a structurally unique ATP binding pocket incorporated in all three isoforms, Pim-1, Pim-2, and Pim-3. The Pims are key components of the JAK/STAT signaling pathway and regulate cancer cell survival, providing key therapeutic targets for blood disorders as well as the solid tumors. Jasco’s pipeline includes molecules that selectively inhibit each PIM isoform, as well as all three isoforms simultaneously.

As part of the collaboration, Kelvin Lee, M.D., Jacobs Family chair in immunology and co-leader of RPCI’s tumor immunology and immunotherapy program, will lead a study into the role PIM kinases play in CD28 signaling pathways, a major cause of resistance to frontline multiple myeloma treatments.

“Our goal is to get the therapy to cancer patients through a Phase I clinical study within one year,” Alex Adjei, M.D., Ph.D., FACP, svp for clinical research and director of RPCI’s Center for Drug Development, said in a statement.

“It’s an ambitious but totally realistic goal given the resources for preclinical and clinical research that exist at RPCI and the tremendous progress Jasco has made on this agent so far,” added Dr. Adjei, who is also the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s inaugural Conquer Cancer Foundation Drug Development Professor.

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