Segue Therapeutics is a discovery engine that launches subsidiary companies to develop individual repurposed drugs and store all of the relevant IP
STX uses a hybrid business model that consists of product-based development and platform-based discovery. We are a holding company that acts as the discovery engine (platform-based component) based on the following principles.
1. Phenotypic Screening Technology and Drug Repositioning
- Proprietary high content imaging screens coupled with real time imaging
- FDA-approved drug libraries are faster, less risk and less cost compared to traditional drug discovery
2. Innovative Science
- STX has discovered drugs that target fibroblast activation (Type A - Series 2000) and also target tumor cell invasion (Type B - Series 1000)
- This unique combination helps overcome treatment resistance
- More proprietary high content screens are being developed
3. Innovative Business Model
- Platform-based holding company, STX, spun off a subsidiary company named SegueTx-Pancreatic Cancer (STXPC) and recently opened a first round of financing
- Innovative combination patent protection combined with the 505(b)2 drug repurposing pathway helps bring drugs to the clinic
As new drugs are vetted for different indications, subsidiary companies (product-based component) are launched to develop the repurposed drugs and to store all of the relevant IP for future licensing. Thus, we are open to strategic collaborations with companies interested in either our platform technologies or our current products in development via our subsidiary companies.
STXPC is the first subsidiary of STX and is developing repurposed drugs to treat pancreatic cancer and fibrotic diseases.
Pancreatic cancer is emerging as a key medical challenge in the United States. Each year, 50,000 patients are diagnosed with the disease, 40,000 will die, and the percentage of people diagnosed with this disease increases every year. The median survival time for untreated pancreatic cancer is less than six months and only six percent live beyond five years after diagnosis. Pancreatic cancer is now the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. and is predicted to be the second leading cause by 2022. Unfortunately, the two standard drugs used, gemcitabine and nanoparticle paclitaxel (Nab-Paclitaxel), increase overall survival only by a few months. Therefore, more effective therapeutic treatments are urgently needed.
Because of the interaction between tumor cells and their surrounding microenvironment, therapies that target only tumor cells while ignoring the tumor microenvironment will never be fully effective. STXPC has discovered repurposed drugs that inhibit the activation of pancreatic cancer-associated fibroblasts (pancreatic stellate cells or PSCs), which are cells in the tumor microenvironment that play a critical role in pancreatic cancer growth, invasion and metastasis. ST2001 and ST2022 are our lead drugs that inhibit fibroblast activation, thereby preventing these cells from contributing to disease progression. Thus, targeting both tumor cells and the cells in the surrounding microenvironment might greatly increase the efficacy of treatment.
Fibroblasts also contribute to progression of fibrotic diseases that can involve a variety of organs including the kidney, liver, heart and lungs. In fact, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) kills as many people as pancreatic cancer and 5 year survival rates are almost as bad. Thus, ST2001 and ST2022 could be effective drugs in treating a disease that impacts millions of patients worldwide. Our research has determined that ST2001 and ST2022 in combination is more efficacious than either drug alone and they both are more effective than the FDA approved drugs nintedanib and pirfenidone in our in vitro models.
In addition, STXPC has discovered repurposed drugs (ST1000 series) that target a previously unexplored pathway to inhibit tumor cell invasion. Validating research has confirmed that lysosome trafficking is a process critical to the formation of metastatic growths leading to metastasis. In fact, using a genetic approach we determined that blocking outward movement of lysosomes prevented completely prevented tumor growth.
The current market value for pancreatic cancer drugs is $1.6B and this is predicted to increase to $2.7B by 2021. The current market value for IPF drugs is $1.2B and is predicted to reach $3B by 2022.