NEW YORK – Atyr Pharma on Thursday said it would work with the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to develop antibodies for lung cancer that target neuropilin-2 (NRP2).
Robert Gemmill, a hematology and oncology professor at MUSC, whose research focuses on the role of genetic alterations involved in lung and kidney cancers, including NRP2, will serve as principal investigator of the research program.
San Diego-based Atyr is exploring NRP2 receptor biology as a therapeutic target in cancer and inflammation with academic collaborators, such as MUSC. The company's lead drug candidate, ATYR1923, targets NRP2, a cell surface co-receptor implicated in tumor progression and drug resistance.
Prior studies have shown that higher expression of NRP2 is associated with aggressive forms of lung cancer and poor patient outcomes in many cancers. "Despite currently available treatments, these aggressive tumors remain an area of high unmet medical need," Atyr President and CEO Sanjay Shukla, said in a statement. "We look forward to collaborating on future findings in this area."