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In Pursuit of Biomarkers for RNase Therapies

Achieving the goal of precision medicine includes finding biomarkers that allow clinicians to predict which patients will respond to a particular therapy and transitioning these markers to companion diagnostics. While many recent examples involve genetic changes, perhaps the original predictive biomarker in oncology matches breast cancer patients whose tumors express the HER2 cancer antigen. At Quintessence, we have advanced a first-in-class, ribonuclease (RNase) therapy through a safety (Phase I) clinical trial while searching for a biomarker for the next stage of development.

Now, we have a potential marker for development! Professor Ronald Raines, a founder of Quintessence Biosciences and inventor of our EVadeTM RNase technology, and his collaborators have determined that wild-type human RNase 1 binds to cancer associated carbohydrate antigens. RNase 1 binds predominately to Globo H, which is currently part of a clinical stage vaccine development program for breast cancer. At Quintessence, we are looking forward to converting the natural binding interaction of Globo H and RNase 1 into a marker to predict response to our lead RNase (QBI-139) in the clinic.

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About Quintessence Biosciences Quintessence Biosciences, Inc. is a private company developing novel anti-cancer compounds based on our patented EVade™ Ribonuclease technology. The drug is differentiated, targeting the RNA in cancer cells. Dose escalation of our most advanced lead candidate, QBI-139, in a Phase I trial has recently been completed. The safety profile of the drug is distinct from chemotherapy. Based on encouraging signs of efficacy, partners are being sought for expansion cohorts to evaluate efficacy of QBI-139 in defined patient populations. The drug had a strong therapeutic window against a variety of in vivo xenograft models including: colon, non-small cell lung, ovarian, pancreatic and prostate cancer.