Cumulus Oncology focusses efforts on identifying opportunities across 5 core themes - novel targets, cancer metabolism, DDR, chromatin modulation and also considers projects that might fall under well-defined pathways.
There is a vast array even within these categories with respect to targets, stage of development and small molecule/biologic approaches to modulation.
Defined as any new oncology targets coming out of emerging science, new understanding of molecular pathways or recent technologies enabling the drugging of targets that were not previously druggable. For example, in recent years, advances in understanding the role of GPCRs in cancer has progressed and highlights the untapped potential of this target class. Novel targets represent a significant proportion of R&D and molecules developed in universities and early stage Biotechs.
An emerging area in oncology which has not had any major drug approvals yet but is receiving a healthy amount of investment. There is evidence of an array of new targets and new ways of modulating these targets being reported, with large Pharma and Biotechs very active in the field.
DNA Damage Response (DDR)
A buoyant area led by the rise of the poly adenosine diphosphate-ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors. The success of these molecules has opened a wide range of opportunities in the field. The DDR pathway is made of several node molecules (ATR/CHK1/WEE1) which have triggered a lot of interest by pharma companies and investors. In addition, as the understanding of the biological mechanism evolves, new targets are being identified specific to particular patient populations (as for PARP inhibitors and BRCA mutation), leading to better patient stratification strategies in clinical trials and increasing overall chances of success.
Chromatin and Epigenetic modulation
Nicely represented by BET and LSD1 inhibitors, which are ‘hot’ targets in the field. However, there is a tolerability issue associated with these compounds. As the knowledge of cancer biology evolves and the technology progresses, there is an opportunity to either develop better drugs for known targets or to develop drugs for targets that were not previously druggable and could have a positive impact in the field.
Well Defined Pathways
Representing compounds targeting well known molecular pathways, with a drug usually already on the market. The new compounds that would be considered are drugs that perhaps provide a better safety profile and represent a better outcome in terms of overall survival or quality of life for the patient. Molecules like HER2-targeting compounds are a good example of the activity in the field.
Meet our spin-outs
Cumulus has curated and created a number of oncology biotech spin-out companies, with further other opportunities in development