Stanford and twoXAR team up against liver cancer

Researchers to validate computationally derived drug candidates targeting hepatocellular carcinoma

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PALO ALTO, Calif.—Recently, twoXAR Inc., a company “dedicated to improving health through computation,” announced a collaboration with the Asian Liver Center at the Stanford University School of Medicine to support research focused on the identification of drug candidates targeting hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC).
In this drug discovery collaboration, twoXAR will make disease-to-candidate predictions using the company’s software-driven discovery platform. From that point, researchers at the Asian Liver Center—under the direction of Dr. Mei-Sze Chua, senior scientist in the laboratory of Samuel So—will tackle preclinical studies to validate those candidates.
Often caused by hepatitis B or hepatitis C infection, HCC is generally refractory to chemotherapy, and there is only one targeted treatment for this liver cancer: the tyrosine kinase inhibitor sorafenib, which can cause severe side effects.
“New drugs in development for HCC primarily target tyrosine kinases, but they have demonstrated mixed success in clinical trials, suggesting a need for new therapies targeting a more diverse set of biomarkers,” said Andrew A. Radin, co-founder and CEO of twoXAR. “We are very pleased to be working with Dr. So and his colleagues at the Asian Liver Center who are dedicated to improving outcomes for patients and raising awareness of chronic hepatitis B infection and its connection to liver cancer through efforts such as the JOINJADE initiative.”
As twoXAR describes its efforts, it has “developed patent‐pending algorithms that enable it to find unanticipated associations between disease and drug candidates orders of magnitudes faster than wet lab‐based approaches.”
The company’s integrative biomedical software platform is said to rapidly evaluate massive public and proprietary datasets to identify high-probability disease‐to‐candidate matches, then rank and prioritize candidates, perform targeted searches and identify novel drug candidates for further preclinical and clinical testing. The platform is reportedly disease-agnostic and has been tested on more than 60 conditions to date in therapeutic areas including autoimmune, oncologic and neurologic disorders.
A couple months earlier, twoXAR had some other news a little farther down the R&D pipeline and in a non-oncology arena, noting that it had completed initial preclinical studies investigating novel rheumatoid arthritis (RA) drug candidates. The objective of these studies was to establish preliminary efficacy data in vivo for 10 separate repurposing candidates.
Each of the candidates were identified using twoXAR’s drug discovery platform, screened from a library of more than 25,000 potential drug candidates. In-vivo studies were conducted by Vium Inc. utilizing their “living informatics” platform, which integrates a fully automated physical and digital infrastructure to capture a wide range of high-fidelity data, including physiology, behavior, environment, husbandry and procedures.
“The completion of these studies is an exciting milestone that further validates software-driven approaches in rapidly identifying viable new drug candidates for devastating diseases like RA,” said Radin. “With a number of the candidates we identified for RA showing promising efficacy in these initial preclinical studies, we have once again shown that technology can lead discovery and deliver results faster and more efficiently than what is currently possible utilizing traditional wet-lab approaches.”

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