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Seekyo Reinforces Scientific Advisory Board with Two New Members

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Seekyo Reinforces Scientific Advisory Board with Two New Members | Pharmtech Focus

Seekyo, a startup company specializing in developing smart chemotherapy drugs, today announces the appointment of two new members to its scientific advisory board, Dr Jacques Medioni and Dr Jean-Pierre Bizzari. Seekyo’s therapies are highly selective in targeting the tumour microenvironment, therefore reducing the adverse effects of current treatments. Alongside Antibody-Drug Conjugates (ADCs), they could represent a game changer in helping practitioners treat patients with solid tumors.

These appointments will strengthen Seekyo’s scientific committee, with the primary goal of achieving clinical trials with the company’s main drug candidate, SKY01, which targets solid tumors with high unmet medical needs such as pancreatic and triple-negative breast cancers.

  • Jacques Medioni, M.D, PhD., is an oncologist, clinical pharmacologist at the European Hospital Georges Pompidou (Paris, France) and senior lecturer at the University of Paris, France. He is the founder and head of a Phase I unit dedicated to cancer clinical trials (CEPEC), and medical director of the Breast Cancer Expert Centre at Paris Hospitals (AP-HP). He is a member of the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO), the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Association of Cancer Research (AACR). Dr Medioni brings to Seekyo his expertise in breast cancers and in preclinical and clinical trials for the design of the SKY01 Phase I/II trial
  • Jean-Pierre Bizzari, M.D, is an oncologist trained in France and Canada. Since starting his career in the pharmaceutical industry in 1983 he has worked at Servier, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer and Sanofi-Aventis. Dr. Bizzari joined Celgene in 2008 as executive vice president, clinical development oncology. He was heavily involved in the development of several anticancer drugs (Taxotere, Irinotecan, Eloxatin, Abraxane), anti-angiogenics, gene therapies and vaccines. He is a member of the scientific advisory board of the French National Cancer Institute (INCa) and a board member of the European Organisation of Research and Treatment of Cancer (EORTC). Dr Bizzari is also a member of the board of directors at Transgene SA, Halozyme Therapeutics, Nordic Nanovector, Pieris, Onxeo and Compugen. Dr Bizzari brings to Seekyo his extensive industrial development perspective for SKY01 and his expertise regarding the specific needs of regulatory agencies

“We are delighted to welcome Dr Medioni and Dr Bizzari to our scientific advisory board. Their combined comprehensive expertise in oncology covers all the clinical aspects needed for the development of our lead candidate in solid tumors, with a complementary vision of the industry from Dr Bizzari and, as a hospital physician with a strong patient perspective, from Dr Medioni,” said Oury Chetboun, CEO at Seekyo.

Seekyo develops SKY01, a drug candidate with the potential to specifically target solid tumors, in particular in pancreatic, lung, colon and triple-negative breast cancers. Based on its patented molecular platform, the drug candidate is safely transported throughout the body using therapeutic vectors, which detect the tumor and trigger anti-cancer activity, affecting only the malignant tissue. The drug is activated in the Tumor MicroEnvironment (TME) through highly targeted extracellular enzyme cutting. This increases effectiveness and tissue activation’s selectivity whilst significantly reducing any adverse effects.

“SKY01 is designed to be an innovative medical option offered to patients with solid tumors. We are really looking forward to enrolling the first patients in our clinical trial for this unique drug candidate,” said Dr Medioni.

“Seekyo’s technological approach has the potential to disrupt the ADC industry, using a combination of the TME targeting mechanism and the use of Albumin to treat a large number of solid tumors,” added Dr Bizzari.

The company has achieved very promising results in pancreatic cancer, one of the most difficult cancers to treat, using PDX (Patient Derived Xenograft) models. SKY01 has proven to be even more efficient than the current standard of care (gemcitabine). In anticipation of reaching clinical trial stage, SKY01’s production has also been industrially scaled-up.

New classes of drugs currently on the market (or in development) for oncology applications seek to further improve targeting, in the manner of ADCs. The ADC market will be worth more than $15 billion (€13.26bn) by 2030, growing at a compound annual growth rate of over 20% due to their growing popularity and therapeutic potential.

Figures from the International Agency for Research on Cancer show that 19.3 million new cases were diagnosed worldwide in 2020, with ten million recorded deaths. Globally, one in five people develop cancer during their lifetime; one in eight men and one in 11 women die from the disease.

Over 40% of cancers are solid tumors, which are typically treated using chemotherapy. However, chemotherapy also attacks healthy cells, leading to major adverse effects. 

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