Development of own projects
The past year has seen the Company make significant progress in research and development. Two leading projects, CT-01 and CT-03, have entered the final stages of preclinical development, which will soon allow the most developed drug candidates to be tested in the cancer patients. The preclinical results obtained to date have clearly confirmed the potential of these two projects and the rationale for entering clinical trials.
"The preclinical results obtained in the CT-01 and CT-03 projects only deepen our conviction of the great therapeutic potential of our drug candidates and the great value of the new form of pharmacology that TPD offers. Hence, we plan to further develop both the project portfolio and the OptigradeTM platform especially in the area of novel E3 ligases. I am personally convinced that the approach we have adopted will enable us to build the Company's value in the short, medium and long term," said Dr Michał Walczak, CSO of Captor Therapeutics
"I would also like to emphasise the relevance of our CT-02 and CT-05 projects, the molecular targets of which we have decided to disclose due to the progress of the work, our belief in our strong competitive position in this area, as well as the fact that, in our view, TPD is the best form of therapeutic intervention in the activity of these enzymes. We know from our business discussions that the molecular targets of the above projects are of great interest to the pharmaceutical industry, which should contribute to finding a partner for further collaboration on at least one of them in the next 24 months," - Dr Michal Walczak added.
The company is also expanding its technology platform through the development of new small-molecule ligands of E3 ligases, which have not previously been used for targeted protein degradation. In the first quarter of 2022, investment was also made to establish an advanced proteomics laboratory, a key tool in the area of targeted protein degradation. The newly established laboratory has expanded the Company's analytical capabilities and is essential for both current and future projects.
Next steps in a three-year strategy
As a consequence of the excellent progress to date, the Company announced in March this year the next steps in its strategy of transition to a global, clinical phase protein degradation company. Captor Therapeutics intends to build a diversified pipeline comprising two fully-owned projects (CT-01 and CT-03) entering clinical trials in cancer. In addition, two projects in pre-clinical studies in autoimmune disease (CT-02 and CT-05) are planned to reach in-vivo proof of efficacy in 2023, at which point the Company plans to start partnering discussions. As these later projects advance through development or are partnered, the pipeline will supplemented by adding two projects in the research phase against new targets.
"We are in the midst of our transition from drug discovery to a clinical phase therapeutics company and anticipate our first results from clinical trials next year. Our early-stage pipeline and the OptigradeTM platform have also taken big steps forward 2022. We think it is important to both advance our lead programs diligently to value-adding milestones, but at the same time maintain our position in the forefront of targeted protein degradation science. In parallel, we are also taking the first steps towards accessing global capital to support our growing ambitions" stated Dr Tom Shepherd, CEO of Captor Therapeutics.
Dr Shepherd added, "The potential of targeted protein degradation drugs was already demonstrated some years ago by the spectacular success of the blockbuster molecular glue degrader lenalidomide. However, the new insights and new molecular approaches in the field, the results of our own research in the last year, and the signals coming from other TPD market leaders, are giving more and more indications that this technology could indeed revolutionise the pharmaceutical industry".
Collaboration with Ono Pharmaceutical
On the business side, the most important development for the Company was the signing of an agreement with Ono Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. The aim of the collaboration is to develop small-molecule compounds capable of degrading a selected molecular target with applications primarily in the field of neurodegenerative diseases for which there is currently no effective therapy.
"This is an important development in the field of TPD - the signing of this type of agreement in the area of neurodegenerative diseases is rare for the technology in which Captor operates, demonstrating an even wider spectrum of possible applications for degrader drugs - says Captor's CEO.
"We have a very stable financial situation. We have more than PLN 160 million to spend on further research, taking into account liquid funds and assured funding from NCBiR. The structure and timing of expenditures are in line with our original assumptions and allow Captor to conduct advanced research work on key projects on its own. 'With our strategy and getting the most advanced projects through Phase I clinical trials, we believe we will deliver improved returns to our shareholders,' said Radosław Krawczyk, CFO of Captor Therapeutics
In order to expand our future clinical trial plans keep at the leading edge of the rapidly evolving field of TPD, the company will be looking to attract international investors, particularly those with experience in the biotech industry. To this end, Captor has selected Wedbush Securities Inc, a US investment banking firm specialising in the pharmaceutical sector, as an advisor to assess the situation and consider options for raising financing
"The moment when Captor becomes a biotech company with a portfolio of clinical phase projects that are in opens up completely new opportunities in the capital market. Ultimately, this investment path, may end up in the medium term on NASDAQ" - Radosław Krawczyk added.
About Captor Therapeutics
Captor Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company specialising in the development of breakthrough drugs based on Targeted Protein Degradation (TPD) technology for the treatment of diseases with high unmet medical needs. TPD is an innovative approach to developing new drugs that can target novel molecular targets deemed 'non-druggable' using classical drug development methods, and provide additional treatment options for diseases where existing drugs do not provide optimal therapeutic benefit. Captor is currently developing therapeutics for incurable, severe diseases, including malignancies and autoimmune diseases
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