Cetya Therapeutics, Inc. announces the closing of a $220,000 seed round financing. Funding was provided by private investors, including company insiders, and InSynchrony Ventures Inc (InSynchrony), a strategic investor located in Montreal. Dr. Dean Wenham, CEO of InSynchrony, has agreed to join the Board of Directors of Cetya. The proceeds will be used to advance the company’s oncology program toward selection of a lead HDAC inhibitor compound and indication by year-end 2017.

HDACs (histone deacetylases) are a family of enzymes that are important in regulating expression of many genes, including tumor suppressor genes. It has been demonstrated that inhibition of certain HDACs can increase tumor suppressor gene activity, halting tumor growth. As a drug class, HDAC inhibitors have been demonstrated to be effective in treating lymphomas and certain other cancers. Importantly, thought leaders believe that this class of compounds may have much broader application in treating hemoglobinopathies, such as sickle cell disease, inflammation, neurological disorders and fibrotic diseases. Cetya’s HDAC inhibitor program has a three-pronged approach to candidate selection for a particular clinical indication. First, the scaffold is focused on analogs of the Class I-specific HDAC inhibitor Largazole, mitigating toxicities associated with inhibition of Class II HDACs. Second, we have a portfolio of analogs, allowing selection of the analog with the best risk/benefit ratio, widest therapeutic window. Third, if necessary for a particular clinical indication, further reduction in toxicity can be achieved through targeting to the specific cell type of interest through attachment of the appropriate receptor ligand to the chemical structure of the best-performing analog.

“We are excited by the potential of Cetya’s portfolio of HDAC inhibitors, and can use our relationships in eastern Canada to help advance Cetya’s oncology program in a highly cost effective manner” stated Dr. Rudi Erlemann, Director for InSynchrony. Largazole analogs represent an opportunity to develop HDAC inhibitors that may mitigate dose-limiting toxicities and serious adverse events that have plagued HDAC inhibitor drug development. Moreover, other HDAC inhibitors in development have shown limited efficacy against solid tumors. Cetya believes its proprietary platform is positioned to overcome these limitations. Cliff Hendrick, CEO of Cetya, stated, “The workplan we have established with the help of InSynchrony will enable us to select a lead candidate and associated clinical indication by the end of 2017, which is a huge step forward for Cetya.”

Cetya has the exclusive worldwide rights to the histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor patent estate developed in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Williams, University Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at Colorado State University. One of the co-inventors on the IP developed by Dr. Williams is Dr. James E. Bradner, formerly of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and now President of Novartis Institutes of Biomedical Research. Dr. Bradner, along with another collaborator of Dr. Williams, Dr. Stuart Schreiber of the Broad Institute, are recognized leaders in understanding the structure and function of HDACs, and in the design of isoform-specific inhibitors of HDACs.

About Cetya Therapeutics

Cetya Therapeutics, Inc. is a Delaware C-Corporation formed in 2012 to develop histone deacetylase inhibitors based on largazole. Some of these analogs incorporate receptor ligands with the potential to target specific cell types or tumors. This is unique for HDAC inhibitors and, together with increased potency and selectivity, differentiates Cetya’s compounds. More than 30 largazole analogs have been synthesized, some with best-in-class profiles as HDAC inhibitors. Biochemical and cell-based potency, up-regulation of fetal hemoglobin expression and in-vivo anti-cancer activity have been demonstrated. Cetya is seeking corporate partners to assist in the advancement of its analog portfolio into clinical studies in a number of different therapeutic indications. For more information on Cetya, please visit our website at www.cetyatherapeutics.com.

About InSynchrony Ventures

InSynchrony Ventures was formed in 2016 by Dean Wenham, the founder and CEO of InSymbiosis with some like-minded collaborators. InSynchrony believes that early stage preclinical drug development companies need a combination of money, knowledge, guidance and support in order to successfully navigate the complex process of late stage discovery and development. By combining capital from InSynchrony with the proven and successful drug development outsourcing platform and expertise of InSymbiosis (established 12 years ago), we are able to successfully address some of these needs. InSynchrony has already built a portfolio of 4 investments and will be looking to make 3 to 4 investments per year.

Originally Appeared In: Colorado BioScience Association, 05-08-2017.