One of the characteristic features of cancer is its ability to evade the attacks of the immune system. The most recent advances in cancer treatment have been the introduction of immunotherapies, drugs that increase the activity of the immune system to fight cancer. However, there is a large percentage of patients who do not respond to this type of treatment. Therefore, there is a great need to develop new immunomodulating drugs that can both increase the effect of existing therapies and make insensitive tumor forms treatable.
Sprint Bioscience was the first group to show that small molecules that inhibit the VpS34 protein lead to increased infiltration of immune cells into tumors. This is a relatively newly discovered mechanism, and we have the goal of becoming first-in-class with inhibitors of this protein. The increased infiltration of immune cells inhibits tumor growth and has been shown to increase the effect of other immuno-oncology drugs. The patients who respond poorly to immuno-oncology treatment today have been shown to have low infiltration of immune cells in the tumor. A global license agreement was signed with Deciphera Pharmaceuticals Inc. in August 2021.
Sprint Bioscience license partner Deciphera Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced in December 2023 that they do not intend to pursue the VPS34 program. Sprint Bioscience will begin the process of reclaiming the program.