Year: 2013-14

Company: City of Hope

Liaison(s): David Horne

City of Hope is a renowned non-profit organization focused on world-class research and treatment for cancers and other life-threatening diseases. The Beckman Research Institute (BRI) is one of six key strategic research programs at City of Hope, responsible for expanding the world’s biological understanding of diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and diabetes. The BRI encompasses over 60 years of expertise in scientific research, where investigators are committed to identifying opportunities at the cellular and molecular level to predict, prevent, diagnose, treat and cure such serious diseases. The BRI is interested in cancer related epigenetics, particularly in gene-regulatory proteins involved in cancer expression. Epigenetic regulators alter gene expression without changing actual DNA sequences. A class of proteins important for epigenetic regulation, histone methyltransferases (HMTs), plays multiple important roles in certain cancers. The BRI has recently developed a novel class of chemical entities that target a specific HMT for potential cancer treatment. This class of compounds targets a promising new therapeutic area that may have significant application in a number of cancer indications. The City of Hope Epigenetics TMP team was tasked with creating a product development and commercialization plan for a potential epigenetic cancer therapy, based on a novel HMT inhibitor developed at the Beckman Research Institute. Throughout the project, the team investigated standards of care in a number of cancer indications, conducted detailed interviews with key opinion leaders in the field, and performed market and competitive analyses to evaluate the commercial potential of a new epigenetic cancer therapy. This effort resulted in the final deliverable which included a strategic recommendation outlining the critical steps needed to maximize the potential for commercial, clinical, and regulatory success of this new therapy.