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iOnctura: two promising cancer molecules.

Mis à jour le 02/12/2021

Innosuisse is supporting the Geneva-based biotech iOnctura SA to evaluate the potential of two molecules, IOA-244 and IOA-289, and is granting it financial assistance of almost one million francs.

IOA-244, a PI3K delta protein inhibitor, has shown signs of efficacy against solid tumours and now will be evaluated with an Innosuisse grant of CHF 596,000 for efficacy against lymphomas. This sum covers 50% of the costs of the initial research carried out by Professor Francesco Bertoni of the Institute for Research in Oncology (IOR) in Bellinzona, Switzerland.

"After evaluating biologically effective assays in solid tumours, and demonstrating that IOA-244 is a safe molecule with no risk of toxicity, we are now recruiting patients with uveal melanoma, a rare eye cancer with limited prospects of cure. Initial tests have shown encouraging improvements in this category of patients," explains Karolina Niewola, researcher at iOnctura SA. "We have also initiated clinical trials of IOA-244 in lymphoma patients and believe that the unique properties of our molecule will position IOA-244 as the PI3k-delta inhibitor of choice for this patient population. Research conducted with Prof. F. Bertoni and supported by Innosuisse will guide these clinical trials.

IOA-289 is an autotaxin inhibitor and would be effective in the fight against fibrous cancers, for example pancreatic cancer, one of the most difficult to fight. The tests, for which Innosuisse has provided financial support of around CHF 330,000, began in March 2020 with a partner laboratory in Bern.

"Alliance's support in writing and presenting our project to Innosuisse was key and these funds were instrumental in starting our research. The first results are encouraging and we hope that IOA-289 and IOA-244 will soon be integrated into treatment protocols and will be able to significantly improve the health of patients," says Karolina Niewola.

iOnctura SA is a clinical stage oncology company, founded in 2017 in Geneva, targeting mechanisms that disrupt the dynamic interaction at the heart of the tumour-stroma-immune cell interface. It employs about ten people. In 2020, the company raised 20.1 million euros for its research. Innosuisse, the Swiss national innovation agency, supports the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises. Each year, it grants several million francs in subsidies to promote scientific research.