Cancer metabolism research bolstered by ELF collaboration

16 June 2020

Metabomed, an Israeli biotech company that has been successful in progressing results through the European Lead Factory (ELF), has discovered a series of potent and selective inhibitors of ACSS2 (the AcetylCoA Short chain Synthase 2 enzyme) for the treatment of cancers dependent on acetate metabolism.

To identify inhibitors of ACSS2, two independent high-throughput screening campaigns were run, one of which (a TR-FRET-assay) was carried out through the European Lead Factory. The work with ELF identified two novel chemical series that selectively inhibit the target and are completely different from those published in the literature. 

Metabomed’s recent successes have led to the company securing a further $12.5 million in funding. These funds will go towards moving the clinical candidate for its ACSS2 programme towards IND approval and will also enable the development of lead compounds for its other metabolic cancer research programmes.

Commenting on the collaboration with ELF, Metabomed co-founder and CEO, Dr. Simone Botti said: “I am grateful for the fundamental contribution of the European Lead Factory to this work. ELF has provided us with extremely valuable access to proprietary libraries and uHTS expertise and facilities that would otherwise not have been available to a start-up of our size.”

“It’s truly impressive to see the pace and rigour with which the Metabomed team is advancing this ELF-based programme towards the clinic,” says Dr. Jon de Vlieger, Coordinator of the European Lead Factory at Lygature. “ELF was created to boost the highest quality drug discovery projects and the collaboration with Metabomed on ACSS2 is an excellent example of that.”

The discovery of the ACSS2 inhibitors will be presented by Metabomed on 24 June 2020 during the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) – one of the most important oncology conferences in the world.