Wellcome Trust grants BerGenBio Seeding Drug Discovery Award of £1.6m

To develop novel cancer therapeutics

Norwegian biopharmaceutical company BerGenBio has been awarded a £1.6m (NOK16m) Seeding Drug Discovery Award from the UK’s Wellcome Trust. It will fund the next phase of development of its small molecule inhibitors against BGB002, the company's proprietary novel cancer target.

The Wellcome Trust Awards are used to identify and fund promising therapeutic concepts through to clinical implementation.

BGB002 controls tumour cell malignant features and is up-regulated in several cancer types including difficult to treat malignancies such as triple-negative-breast cancer.

Using its CellSelect technology, BerGenBio has demonstrated that BGB002 activates tumour cell Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition (EMT), a precursor to metastatic spread. Subsequent target validation studies demonstrated BGB002’s pivotal role in mediating EMT, facilitating the escape of transformed cells and engendering resistance to standard of care anti-cancer regimens.

BerGenBio holds patent applications on BGB002 and is developing novel selective small molecule inhibitors to the target with Sygnature Discovery, a UK provider of integrated drug discovery, with expertise in medicinal chemistry, in vitro bioscience, computational chemistry and informatics.

Richard Godfrey, Chief Executive of BerGenBio, said the receipt of the Award is an endorsement both for the company’s expertise in identifying key molecular drivers of aggressive drug resistant cancers and for its ability to translate these discoveries into viable drug candidates. Scientists from BerGenBio and Sygnature co-operated across their respective sites to assemble the application for the Award and successfully co-presented the project at the final evaluation stage.

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