Leading transatlantic cancer teams form Sigma1 pact

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center has joined with two other groups and Context Therapeutics to research Sigma1. The collaborators hope to learn about the role Sigma1 plays in disease and assess the activity of Context’s inhibitors of the protein.

Context has enlisted the support of Fred Hutch, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and Synergie Lyon Cancer for the project. The research centers have each signed up to work on a different aspect of Sigma1 biology with a view to complementing the chemistry-skewed programs Context has already completed. 

Led by Elahe Mostaghel, M.D., Ph.D., Fred Hutch will research the role Sigma1 plays in castration-resistant prostate cancer. One goal of the program is to assess the effect of Context’s Sigma1 inhibitors on androgen receptors in animal models. The team in Lyon has an overlapping project designed to validate a Sigma1 biomarker relevant to prostate cancer.

Cedars-Sinai is running the one program aimed at a disease other than cancer. Under the oversight of Cory Hogaboam, Ph.D., a team at the West Coast medical center will study the potential for Sigma1 inhibitors to treat pulmonary fibrosis.

The focus of the projects reflects Context’s selection of advanced prostate cancer as the target of its lead program, and its belief that the biology of Sigma1 affects diseases beyond cancer. In fibrosis, Context’s belief is underpinned by evidence of the role Sigma1 plays in disease pathways.

Building on the research of its co-founder and CSO, Felix Kim, Ph.D., Context has quietly worked on the target from its base in Philadelphia. Now, with the help of its collaborators, it is set to start testing its investigational compounds.

“These collaborators will help us expand our biology effort and advance our understanding of how best to target Sigma1 and maximize the potential our inhibitors may have for patients,” Context CEO Martin Lehr said in a statement.