DNA THERAPEUTICS

DNA THERAPEUTICS The genesis of the “DNA bait” concept and its successful demonstration are examples of fruitful translational research where clinicians and scientists shared their viewpoints on clinical bottlenecks and combined their imaginations, intelligences and efforts in moving forward innovative therapeutic solutions against treatment-resistant cancer. The story began in June, when Jean-Marc Cosset, head of the Department of radio-oncology at the Institut Curie talked about the problem of radioresistance in the treatment of head-and-neck cancer to his colleague, Marie Dutreix, a radiobiologist and specialist of genomic instability and DNA repair. Marie Dutreix thought that such radio-resistance arose from high DNA repair capacity of tumor cells to escape radiation caused DNA damages, in particular, the most lethal double strand breaks. In July, Marie Dutreix discussed this issue and her viewpoint with Jian Sheng Sun, a physical chemist and specialist in nucleic acids and related biotechnologies. They agreed to brainstorm on this new approach during the summer vacation and to submit a translational research project to the Scientific Advisory Board of the Institut Curie. The project entitled “Genomic instability and radioresistance in tumors” proposed to develop a substrate mimetic of DSBs and to introduce Dbait in cells in order to interfere with DNA damage sensing, signaling and repair activities They postulated that the transient neutralization of tumor cells’ DNA repair capacity could open a therapeutic window for sensitizing radiotherapy. In October, the Institut Curie allocated a four-year grant to this innovative project. The project involved several research teams Dr. Dutreix, project manager; Dr. Larue; Prof. Debatisse; Dr. Robine; and medical teams at the Institut Curie, and Prof. Sun at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle. Soon after the first in vivo proof of concept, in January, Prof. Sun and Dr. Dutreix decided to further validate the concept in other tumor models and to strengthen intellectual property in order to transform this translational research project into a start-up project lead by Prof. Sun. Since then, the project has received many scientific and financial supports which permit the maturation of “DNA bait” technology, thanks to: Curie’s Direction of Development and Industrial Relations and Department of Translational Research, CNRS’ Department of Life Science, INSERM-Transfer; Oséo-ANVAR and ANR for technology transfer and maturation; Genopole, Incuballiance, CRITT Chimie-Environnement and Scientipole for assistance and coaching of the project “DNA Therapeutics”; HEC Start-up Institute and HEC MBA program for providing training and network in business, management and finance; Alcimed Biotechnologies, Bionest Partners, Voisin-Consulting, Breese-Derambur-Majerowicz, Becker and associates, Ginestié Magellan Paley-Vincent Attorneys for market research, regulatory affairs, intellectual property and legal affairs advice; Professionals in biotechnology, experts in technical and medical affairs; The “Concours national d'aide à la création d'entreprises de technologies innovantes” for “emergence” and “création et développement” awards; The “Concours national d'aide à la création d'entreprises de technologies innovantes” for “emergence” and “création et développement” awards; University of Paris XI and Essonne General Council for “Grand Prix d’Innovation et de Transfert de Technologie” ; French Senate and INSERM-Transfert for the Trophy of Start-up Contest and Grand Prize of Life Sciences, respectively. All these supports have made possible the inception of DNA Therapeutics Inc. in May. The founders are grateful to the people who have contributed to this project.


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