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Endeavor BioMedicines Licenses ULK1/2 Inhibitor Program From Salk Institute, Sanford Burnham Prebys

NEW YORK – Endeavor BioMedicines said on Thursday it has in-licensed a ULK1/2 inhibitor program from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies and Sanford Burnham Prebys.

San Diego-based Endeavor obtained exclusive worldwide rights to ENV-201, which it plans to advance in the clinic over the next 18 months specifically as a treatment for lung and colorectal cancers. Endeavor will also complete preclinical research that will support an investigational new drug application filing with the US Food and Drug Administration for the drug.

In preclinical models, ENV-201 showed activity against tumors with mutations in LKB1, a tumor suppressor. LKB1 mutations occur in about 15 percent of patients with non-small cell lung and colorectal cancer, and patients with these mutations tend to be resistant to standard-of-care treatments and have poor prognosis. LKB1 is also commonly mutated alongside KRAS mutations.

Endeavor plans to investigate ENV-201 as both a monotherapy and in combination trials with immunotherapy in refractory patients.

"The Salk Institute and Sanford Burnham Prebys have pioneered early research on the ULK1/2 pathway in RAS-mutated cancers, including those that have become resistant to current standard of care," said Endeavor CEO John Hood in a statement. "This powerful ULK1/2 program that we have acquired is synergistic with our growing portfolio of precision medicine treatments and has the potential to be an important new treatment option for patients with life-threatening colorectal and lung cancers."

Endeavor's pipeline includes drugs targeting cancers with mutations in the Hedgehog pathway and RAS and/or STK11-driven cancers.