Gastrointestinal (GI) cancers are responsible for more cancers and more deaths from cancer than any other cancers in the human body. Despite advances in diagnostic and early detection of tumours, the survival of GI cancers has not improved significantly over the last decades. Whereas patients with GI cancers have a good prognosis if diagnosed at an early stage, survival rates are dismal if detected at later stages (Table 1, appendix I). Much of this arises from the fact that current therapies are unable to tackle the main causes of death in these patients, which are resistance to drugs and of even higher importance is the formation of metastasis, referred to as ‘systemic disease’.
Novel therapeutic tools should therefore be designed to specifically target the metastatic process, so that they can be used both at early stages of cancer (to prevent the formation of metastasis), as well as late stages (to stop metastatic growth).
Cancer Systemic Therapeutics, CysTmX, has developed a proprietary llama-derived nanobody that selectively and effectively inhibits a molecular pathway involved in the malignant progression of gastrointestinal cancers. We have proof of principle that the CysTmX nanobody inhibits the progression towards a metastatic phenotype and decreases chemo-resistance of aggressive cancer cells. Its applicability is broad, as it is effective in a substantial percentage of patients with gastrointestinal cancers. To bring this drug to Phase IIb, we would need a total investment of €17,7M with projected revenues of €320M or more.
CysTmX is a spin-off company of the Department of Experimental Gastroentrology of the Academic Medical Center (AMC), Amsterdam. Its dedicated team brings together state of the art scientific, clinical and technical laboratory knowledge in the field of Oncology and Cell and Molecular biology. Its founder, prof. Sheila Krishnadath has a long track record on studying aggressive types of gastro-intestinal cancers. As she is both a treating clinician as well as a well-known scientist in her field, CysTmX can quickly transfer valuable knowledge from the clinic to the bench and vice versa. The direct link to the clinic has resulted in valuable knowledge taken from clinic to the bench and vice versa.