Volastra Therapeutics Announces New and Expanded Partnerships with AI and Precision-Medicine Leaders to Broaden Potential of KIF18A Inhibitors Across Cancer

March 26, 2024

Microsoft, Function Oncology and Tailor Bio collaborations will support the evolution of predictive biomarkers across a diversity of tumors

Identified biomarkers may expand applicability of Volastra’s clinical KIF18A inhibitors beyond cancers with universally high levels of chromosomal instability (CIN)

NEW YORK, March 26, 2024 – Volastra Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company, today announced partnerships with Microsoft, Function Oncology and Tailor Bio with the goal of broadening the potential of its evolving therapeutics pipeline across a large number of tumor types through identification of predictive biomarkers.

Volastra leads the field in development of therapeutics that target chromosomal instability (CIN), a key characteristic of cancer associated with accelerated disease progression, increased resistance to therapies, and shortened patient survival. While CIN is a hallmark of cancer, levels of CIN vary widely across tumor types from being nearly ubiquitous in some to only partially present in others.

Volastra’s two KIF18A inhibitors are in parallel Phase 1 clinical trials treating tumor types with near-universally high levels of CIN. Significant potential remains in many other tumor types, for which a biomarker-defined approach may be able to identify subsets of patients most likely to benefit from treatment.

“Predictive biomarkers can help us expand the reach of our therapies to as many patients as possible,” said Charles Hugh-Jones, M.D., FRCP, CEO at Volastra. “By leveraging the diverse expertise of our partners, we believe we can achieve this even in cancers with heterogenous levels of CIN.”

Volastra has collaborated with Microsoft Research since 2020 to develop image-based artificial intelligence (AI) models that quantify CIN in patient samples.

“Our collaboration has shown extraordinary progress in creating AI techniques to identify visual hallmarks of CIN with high levels of accuracy, a process that is incredibly difficult and expensive for humans to do alone,” commented Jonathan Carlson, Ph.D., Managing Director, Microsoft Research Heath Futures. “We are thrilled to continue to combine our research expertise with Volastra’s so they may amplify their impact and reach more patients.”

This novel visual approach will now be complemented by the unique and distinct expertise of Function Oncology and Tailor Bio, both recognized leaders in precision medicine.

“Function’s collaboration with Volastra integrates our unique CRISPR platform to decipher patient-specific drug target vulnerabilities,” said Srinath Sampath, M.D., Ph.D., M.Phil., co-founder and CEO of Function Oncology. “Our platform allows us to reach ground-state genetic truth about target dependence in cancer and beyond, and we look forward to applying this technology to Volastra’s clinical programs.”

Jason Yip, MBA, co-founder and CEO of Tailor Bio commented, “Our latest Nature publication demonstrated the remarkable potential for genomic CIN signatures to quantify unique aspects of chromosomal instability. We are excited to apply our proprietary precision medicine platform to clinical trials in the rapidly advancing field of KIF18A inhibition.”

About Volastra Therapeutics, Inc.
Volastra Therapeutics is a New York-based clinical-stage biotechnology company pioneering novel approaches to treating cancer by targeting a tumor vulnerability known as chromosomal instability. The company was founded in 2019 by Lewis Cantley, Ph.D., Samuel Bakhoum, M.D., Ph.D., and Olivier Elemento, Ph.D., and is funded by Polaris Partners, Arch Ventures, Droia Ventures, Vida Ventures, Catalio Capital Management, and Eli Lilly & Company. Volastra is developing new techniques to understand the biology of chromosomal instability and leveraging these insights to drive a pipeline of therapies towards innovative targets. The company leads the field with first-in-class and differentiated clinical-stage KIF18A inhibitors, VLS-1488 and sovilnesib (formerly AMG-650). A robust discovery pipeline targeting novel approaches to chromosomal instability progresses internally and in collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb.

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