MATWIN Highlights Four Innovative Projects in the Fight Against Cancer
MATWIN, the French oncology accelerator and subsidiary of Unicancer, today announces the four winners chosen by its two juries during their virtual meetings, held between May 3 and 5 as part of the 6th MEET2WIN European Oncology Partnering Convention.
The first two winners were selected by the MATWIN international board. The board is the only body of its kind in Europe and comprises 20 key decision-makers in global oncology R&D from the MATWIN partner laboratories, as well as experts and academic opinion leaders from the biggest cancer research centers in Europe.
The international committee meeting has been held for twelve consecutive years. The meeting usually takes place in Bordeaux, but this year it was held as a two-day remote session on May 3 and 4. Among the eleven preselected projects, two were singled out for special awards by the MATWIN board, based on their relevance from a medical perspective and their future development potential.
- Step Pharma: awarded ‘First-in-class therapeutic innovation’, the startup’s lead program (STP938) is based on a novel class of oral nucleotide synthesis inhibitors that target CTPS1 (cytidine triphosphate synthase 1) to induce selective modulation of specific immune cell populations such as T and B cells. STP938 will enter clinical development in early 2022 for the treatment of haematological malignancies
- Tollys: awarded ‘Best-in-class therapeutic innovation’, the company’s lead-candidate (TL-532) is a structurally defined double-stranded RNA of 70 base pairs produced synthetically that is highly specific to the TLR3 receptor. Tollys plans to start clinical phase 1 trials with TL-532 in several cancer indications in 2022
The candidates received upfront six months support in the MATWIN accelerator, profiting from the high added-value recommendations offered by around 50 experts, coaches and industry decision-makers that support the MATWIN initiative. This represents a huge benefit for the projects, in many cases opening new doors for them with international visibility and chances to boost development.
“MATWIN has been a key factor in getting our young company off the ground. It was one of the first opportunities we had to present our innovative bioconjugation technology platform designed for cancer treatment,” said Sasha Koniev, CEO of Strasbourg-based startup Syndivia, MATWIN laureate in 2015. “The program really helped us increase the visibility of our project, with which we were able to find an industrial partner we’re still working with today.”
“MATWIN is a unique opportunity for those candidates selected. It allows them to receive opinions and advice on their innovation from internationally renowned experts and crucial feedback to speed up project development,” explained MATWIN CEO Lucia Robert. “It represents real added value for everyone involved – the candidates, the developers, and ultimately, the patients.”
Alongside its board meeting, MATWIN also held the 6th MEET2WIN event, its European Partnering Convention, on May 6 and 7, dedicated to open innovation in oncology. Around 330 participants from across Europe took part in the virtual event, attending conferences and workshops in which innovative projects were presented. Over 1,600 online meetings took place, with the goal of optimizing collaboration opportunities.
MATWIN also gave a dozen European startups the chance to pitch their anti-cancer products and solutions to a unique panel of investors. This was the third meeting of the OUI (Oncology Upward Investment) jury, made up of some twenty major investors. The jury picked out two startups deserving of recognition:
- ATB Therapeutics: based in Belgium, this startup has developed a novel plant-based targeted biologic (the antibody toxin bioengineered ‘atbody’) which destroys specifically tumour cells while preserving heathy tissue and limiting drug resistance and relapse
- BIPER Therapeutics: currently incubated at SEMIA in Strasbourg, this startup’s mission is to develop first-in-class drug candidates modulating the stress of the endoplasmic reticulum, a promising new treatment route for patients with cancer resistant to currently available treatments