Pharma Focus Asia

Qualigen Therapeutics Extends Research Agreement with University of Louisville Research Foundation on RAS Program

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Qualigen Therapeutics, Inc., a diversified life sciences company focused on developing treatments for adult and pediatric cancers with potential for Orphan Drug designation, while also commercializing diagnostics, today announces the mutual extension of a research agreement with University of Louisville Research Foundation (ULRF). The revised agreement expands the Company’s collaboration with the research institution to develop its ongoing RAS-F platform currently in the discovery stage for solid tumors through Q1 of 2023.

“This extension of our agreement with ULRF represents our continued commitment to develop our exciting RAS-F platform by leveraging the ongoing relationship with this prestigious research institution,” commented Michael Poirier, Qualigen’s CEO. “We are both proud to be associated with ULRF and confident that our further collaboration may serve to identify the lead candidate for IND-enabling studies by late 2022.”

Geoffrey Clark, Ph.D., Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology at University of Louisville (UofL), stated, “The partnership with Qualigen Therapeutics has been very important to us. The expanded agreement gives our team the opportunity to generate and select additional compounds, fully explore mechanisms within the RAS pathway, and drive the program towards a lead clinical candidate.”

Mutant RAS is the most common cancer oncogene, present in one quarter of all cancers. It acts as a “hub” that activates multiple effector pathways to promote cancer growth. Targeting the downstream PI3K-AKT and RAF-MEK-ERK signaling pathways has been a promising therapeutic approach to date. However, approved therapeutic options are limited to cancers exhibiting specific RAS mutations, such as KRAS G12C. Exploring additional downstream effectors of the RAS pathway such as the RAL GTPase family are areas of active research as there are no FDA-approved pan-mutational RAS protein inhibitors.

Qualigen’s RAS-F program is a family of small molecules designed to prevent mutated RAS gene proteins from binding to their effector proteins. Exclusively in-licensed from UofL, compounds from this discovery engine have been shown to inhibit a broad range of RAS mutations and are active against the growth of multiple in vivo tumor models. Qualigen is evaluating promising compounds generated from this partnership in various RAS-driven advanced solid tumors such as pancreatic, colorectal and lung cancers.

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