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SpringWorks (US) licensed by Flanders’ research institutes

American biotech company SpringWorks Therapeutics, Inc. has entered into an exclusive worldwide license agreement with KU Leuven’s Centre for Drug Design and Discovery (CD3) and VIB, Flanders’ strategic research center for life sciences. The licensed portfolio includes novel transcriptional enhanced associate domain (TEAD) inhibitors, designed for the potential treatment of biomarker-defined tumors.

VIB Georg Halder

Powerful weapon in cancer treatment

TEAD inhibitors target a specific signaling pathway, known as the Hippo pathway, that controls organ development and tissue growth and regeneration. This pathway is genetically altered in up to 10% of cancers. Such genetic mutations are key drivers in several tumor types, including certain types of mesotheliomas, non-small cell lung cancer, head and neck cancer and kidney cancer.

CD3 and VIB have already generated promising preclinical data on the portfolio of TEAD inhibitors. SpringWorks is very pleased to expand its portfolio with the in-licensing of these selective and potent inhibitors.

The TEAD inhibitors are highly complementary to our strategy of developing novel targeted therapies for patients with biomarker-defined tumors.

Saqib Islam
CEO of SpringWorks Therapeutics

The Hippo pathway was first discovered in the fruit fly Drosophila by our and other groups almost 20 years ago. Since then, it’s seen as a central regulator of cell proliferation and organ growth. As the Hippo pathway is genetically altered in up to 10% of cancers, TEAD inhibition holds great promise as a therapeutic approach.

Georg Halder
VIB-KU Leuven Center for Cancer Biology

Breakthrough in new cancer research

It was Professor Georg Halder of the VIB-KU Leuven Centre for Cancer Biology who first discovered interesting evidence related to the Hippo pathway in the fruit fly almost 20 years ago, with the collaboration of CD3. Since then, scientists recognize the Hippo pathway as a central regulator of cell proliferation and organ growth.

SpringWorks – a US-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing life-changing medicines for patients with severe rare diseases and cancer – will use the inhibitors to advance studies to support an investigational new drug application in 2022.

This collaboration exemplifies VIB’s mission to combine excellence in research with proactive technology transfer to advance early innovative science towards the clinic.

Jérôme Van Biervliet
managing director of VIB

Successful translation from animal to human

At CD3, TEAD inhibitors were proven effective in preclinical animal models. SpringWorks is now advancing this technology towards the clinic as a potential treatment option for patients with devastating cancers driven by abnormal Hippo pathway signaling.

The agreement demonstrates CD3’s strong drive to translate promising scientific insights into attractive novel therapies that improve patients’ lives.

Patrick Chaltin
managing director of CD3 at KU Leuven

As part of the agreement, SpringWorks will pay KU Leuven and VIB USD 11 million up front, another USD 285 million during development, regulatory and commercial milestones and specific royalties based on future sales. 

More info

SpringWorks Therapeutics
Reported by
13 July 2021

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