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Curie-Cancer, Inventiva partners in epigenetics for cancer

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Curie-Cancer, the body responsible for Institut Curie’s industry partnership activities, and Inventiva, a French drug discovery company focusing on therapeutic approaches involving transcription factors and epigenetic targets, have launched the Epicure project, which just has received financial backing from France’s national research agency, the ANR (Agence Nationale pour la Recherche).

The Epicure project focuses on two novel epigenetic targets implicated in immunomodulation. It aims to confirm their therapeutic potential for the treatment of cancers such as breast cancer, ovarian cancer and melanoma, as well as some respiratory diseases. It also aims to identify molecules that are capable of regulating the activity of the targets and are therefore likely to become active drugs for the treatment of these diseases. The funding provided by the ANR covers a period of four years.

The Epicure project will involve three teams from the Institut Curie: the Epigenetics team led by Geneviève Almouzni, director of research at the French national center for scientific research the CNRS (Center national de recherche scientifique) and director of the research center at the Institut Curie; the Immunology team headed by Sebastian Amigorena, director of research at the CNRS; and Sergio Roman-Roman’s translational research team. Inventiva’s epigenetics drug discovery team will join and partner with Curie teams.

The purpose of the Epicure project is to produce novel molecules that modulate the epigenetic targets under evaluation. These would be ready to go into clinical development upon completion of the project. Its ultimate goal is to find new drugs that will activate immune responses against cancer cells.  

“The ANR funding provides additional resources for the partnership we have established with the Institut Curie. It adds to our portfolio of epigenetic programs, which aims to confirm novel epigenetic mechanisms and develop innovative drugs to treat cancer,” said Pierre Broqua, co-founder and scientific director of Inventiva. “By combining our expertise in target validation and drug discovery with the Institut Curie’s skills in basic and translational oncology research, we can achieve rapid and significant outcomes for patients.”

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