Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Jasco Pharmaceuticals Join Forces to Advance Drug Research

Organizations partner on preclinical testing of agent that has shown promise against solid tumors, blood cancers
Friday, May 31, 2013

BUFFALO, N.Y. — A new partnership, first of its kind for both organizations, will see Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and Jasco Pharmaceuticals, LLC collaborating to advance development of an investigational pharmacological therapy that shows promise for treating both solid-tumor cancers and hematologic malignancies. The affiliation will see RPCI providing preclinical research infrastructure and services to fast-track development of Jasco’s lead agent and speed its progression to the clinical-trial phase.

That agent, JP_11646, is a PIM inhibitor that targets a class of kinase enzymes that help to regulate cancer cell survival. In preclinical studies, JP_11646 has shown activity against solid tumors including breast, colon, liver, lung and pancreas cancers as well as multiple myeloma.

Through this partnership, Jasco, which operates from Woburn, Mass., and has its headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., and RPCI will jointly pursue further preclinical development of the agent, including pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic (PK/PD) analysis to define its efficacy, its toxicity and how cells respond to it. The project is the first to take advantage of the Center for Drug Development at RPCI, a new program uniting Institute resources that previously operated separately.

Kelvin Lee, MD, Jacobs Family Chair in Immunology and Co-Leader of the Tumor Immunology and Immunotherapy Program at Roswell Park, will lead a study into the role PIM kinases play in CD28 signaling pathways, a survival mechanism that is a major cause of resistance to frontline multiple myeloma treatments. 

“This collaboration brings Jasco’s unique kinase inhibitor platform together with Roswell Park’s comprehensive expertise in the development of novel therapies for oncology and the treatment of patients,” says Jasco Pharmaceuticals CEO Eugene Baldino. “It’s a great fit, and one that I know will reduce the development timeline of this promising agent, making it available to patients sooner.”

“Our goal is to get the therapy to cancer patients through a phase I clinical study within one year,” notes Alex Adjei, MD, PhD, FACP, Senior Vice President for Clinical Research and Director of the Center for Drug Development at RPCI, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology’s inaugural Conquer Cancer Foundation Drug Development Professor. “It’s an ambitious but totally realistic goal given the resources for preclinical and clinical research that exist at RPCI and the tremendous progress Jasco has made on this agent so far.”

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About Jasco:
Jasco Pharmaceuticals, LLC is a privately held, pre-clinical stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of small molecule oncology therapeutics. Jasco was founded with a core expertise in high speed medicinal chemistry providing a launching point for a chemical genomics approach to the discovery of selective protein kinase inhibitors. The company’s vision is to rapidly and effectively develop pre-clinical oncology candidates that are progressed through the clinical development process by means of strategic partnerships. For more information, please visit www.jascopharma.com.

About RPCI:
The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, RPCI is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org. Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact: 

Annie Deck-Miller, Senior Media Relations Manager
716-845-8593; annie.deck-miller@roswellpark.org