Newton, MA, February 8, 2024 – Auron Therapeutics, a biotechnology company focused on developing next-generation targeted therapies by identifying and treating disrupted cell states of cancer, today announced the nomination of its first development candidate, AUTX-703. Using its proprietary AURIGIN platform, Auron identified a key driver of tumor cell plasticity and discovered AUTX-703, a potent, selective, orally bioavailable small molecule degrader of that target. AUTX-703 is being developed for the treatment of patients with small cell lung cancer (SCLC), neuroendocrine prostate cancer (NEPC), and acute myeloid leukemia (AML).
Cell state plasticity, or the ability of a cell to change its phenotype, is a critical vulnerability of cancer cells and is associated with poor prognosis and treatment-resistance. In normal, healthy development, early progenitor cells divide rapidly and proliferate to form the body’s tissues and organs. Once these cells terminally differentiate, they lose that ability to multiply. In cancer, genetic or pathway alterations hijack normal development pathways to promote tumorigenesis by pushing cancer cells into a more plastic, proliferative cell state. Auron’s approach aims to identify and target the drivers of those disrupted cell states, reverting cancer cells to a normal, quiescent state to stop the growth and proliferation of the tumor.
“One of the most significant challenges to effectively treating cancer is the ability of cancer cells to change their cellular identity. Our deep understanding of the developmental biology pathways that are co-opted in tumorigenesis, combined with the computational and AI power of our AURIGIN platform, has enabled us to identify multiple novel targets and deliver our first development candidate,” said Kate Yen, Ph.D., founder and chief executive officer of Auron. “The selection of AUTX-703 is a significant milestone for Auron, validating our initial scientific hypothesis and the utility of our AURIGIN platform. I am extremely proud of what this team has accomplished in just a few years since our founding, and we look forward to sharing more about AURIGIN at AACR in April.”
AURIGIN combines a comprehensive single-cell, multi-omic database with an AI and machine-learning framework for the rapid discovery and development of new targeted cancer therapies. AURIGIN compares normal cell states to cancer cell states, providing a high-resolution atlas of the genes and pathways that drive tumor cell plasticity. Using AURIGIN, Auron aims to identify priority targets driving disrupted cell states, optimal models for early program de-risking, and clinically relevant patient selection and treatment efficacy biomarkers for program development.
“The field of cellular plasticity is still emerging and full of untapped therapeutic potential, with Auron at the forefront of mapping the breadth of opportunity,” said David Millan, Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Auron. “Tumor plasticity and altered cellular states encompass many potential configurations, so classifying cancer cells based on their specific cell state is critical to identifying the drivers of those altered states, which is why we built AURIGIN. The selection of AUTX-703 is an important step toward broadly applying our AURIGIN platform for the development of a range of next-generation targeted cancer therapies.”
Auron Therapeutics is a patient-centered, platform-powered, product-driven oncology company. Auron is leading the next generation of targeted cancer therapies by identifying and targeting the drivers of disrupted cell states of cancer. Auron pioneered its AURIGIN™ platform, which uses AI and machine learning to compare normal cell states with cancerous cell states to identify novel cancer targets, optimal development models, and biomarkers to facilitate proper patient selection. Using AURIGIN, the Company is building a pipeline of small molecule targeted therapies, led by AUTX-703, which is being developed for the treatment of both solid tumors, including small cell lung cancer and neuroendocrine prostate cancer, and hematologic malignancies, including acute myeloid leukemia. For more information, please visit aurontx.com.
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