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Photo: Oncoheroes Biosciences.

Oncoheroes and Shepherd have entered into a partnership to advance in innovative therapies for rare cancers

Oncoheroes Biosciences, focused on advancing new therapies for childhood cancer, announces  a partnership with the North American company Shepherd Therapeutics to collaborate in the discovery, development and commercialization of innovative drug products for rare oncology indications. The startup –co-founded in 2017 in Boston by the Catalan entrepreneur Ricardo Garcia and the Italian scientist Cesare Spadoni, two parents touched by childhood cancer– has the European headquarters at the Barcelona Science Park.

Oncoheroes and Shepherd’s collaboration advances a paradigm change in drug development for rare cancers. The companies will use Delve, Shepherd’s next-generation, precision-oncology platform that integrates bioinformatics, machine learning and mathematics, to unveil unprecedented insights into rare cancers, including childhood cancer.

Delve enables the companies to move beyond a single target-based approach to identify all of the primary mechanisms of action responsible for drug response and resistance within the human transcriptome.

The companies’ first project of the collaboration will identify additional pediatric and rare adult indications for Oncoheroes’ lead asset: Volasertib.

Volasertib is an inhibitor of Polo-like-kinase 1 (PLK1), an enzyme known to be involved in disease progression in a number of cancers. Volasertib has recently been granted Rare Pediatric Disease Designation (RPDD) and Orphan Drug Designation (ODD) by the FDA for the treatment of rhabdomyosarcoma, the most common soft tissue sarcoma in children and young adults, representing 3-4% of all childhood cancers.

“Getting a diagnosis of cancer as a child should not be a death sentence, yet too many lives are being lost or diminished because of a dearth of pediatric cancer research and treatments”, says David Hysong, CEO of Shepherd. ”Our companies are coming together in hope and in action, leveraging the full extent of our combined technology, experience, and expertise to help save lives”.

“We are excited about this partnership between two mission-driven companies determined to address high unmet medical needs in the rare oncology space. We are confident that Shepherd’s technology, combined with Oncoheroes’ expertise in the pediatric oncology space, will deliver new therapeutics options to children and adolescents with cancer,” states Ricardo Garcia, CEO of Oncoheroes.

 » For further information: Oncoheroes website [+]