CasCure Therapeutics aims to market cancer cure gene-editing in 5-10 years

2022.04.22 13:23:45 | 2022.04.22 13:24:11

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CasCure Therapeutics, a South Korean biotech startup, has set a target of five to 10 years for commercializing its platform technology for personalized cancer therapy that cuts off cancer-triggering DNA mutations with a genetic scissors known as CRISPR/Cas9.

The new technology called CINDELCAS is being extensively studied as a clinical-stage solution to customize a site-specific endonuclease for gene mutations in less than a week after they are detected through DNA sequencing, the company’s chief executive Rhee Hwan-seok told Maeil Business Newspaper in a recent interview.

A technological proof of concept was already established by researchers in the Center for Genomic Integrity (CGI) within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS) in February this year. CasCure Therapeutics recently picked up the technology codenamed CINDELA (Cancer-Specific InDel Attacker) from the IBS to explore its potential in clinical application.

This technology relies on bioinformatics analysis and CRISPR/Cas9 to identify unique insertion/deletion (InDel) mutations in different cancer types and selectively kill cancer cells without affecting normal cells.

This is an ideal cancer therapy as it is tumor agnostic and applicable with no side effects unlike conventional radiation or chemotherapies, Rhee explained.

CasCure Therapeutics is led by top-tier scientists as UNIST professors teamed up for its establishment in June 2020. They include Myung Kyung-jae (Director of Center for Genome Integrity at IBS), Kwon Tae-joon, Cho Seung-woo, and Joo Jin-myoung.

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Rhee, a genomic bioinformatics expert, received a bachelor`s degree in molecular biology from Seoul National University, master`s and doctoral degrees in bioinformatics from Yonsei University, and served as a senior researcher at National Institute of Health`s Genome Center and CTO at Macrogen.

“Innovative technology requires more verification work because it has to show a new path completely different from existing technology,” Rhee said. “We will speed up commercialization while ensuring the process of verification by obtaining sufficient data.”

The company also plans to expand its pipeline to include treatments for infectious diseases such as Covid-19 and degenerative brain diseases such as dementia. “Currently, we are focusing on oncology, but we expect that the gene editing technology will be able to address unmet needs in dementia and aging problems in the future,” Rhee said.

By Yoo Joo-yeon and Minu Kim

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