Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and hepatoblastoma, a rare childhood liver cancer, represent major healthcare challenges caused by drug resistance and low survival rates – 31% after five years since the initial diagnosis and only 2% after liver cancer cells have metastasized. The American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates that about 42,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States. Worldwide, the estimated incidence of HCC has reached 841,080 annually with 50% of the new cases diagnosed in China (data source: http://gco.iarc.fr/). The current first-line therapy for treating metastasized liver cancer is chemotherapy, followed by multi-kinase (VEGFR) inhibitors, such as Sorafenib (Nexavar) and Regorafenib (Stivarga) and by anti-PD-1 immunotherapy, such as Nivolumab (Opdivo) and pembrolizumab (Keytruda). Chemotherapy and multi-kinase (VEGFR) inhibitors often result in dose-limiting toxicity and the liver cancer cells rapidly acquire drug resistance. Anti-PD-1 immunotherapy yields less than 15% overall response rate in HCC patients.
Snap Bio currently is advancing its promising liver cancer program to address this unmet need. SNP-162, one of its lead candidates, not only synergizes with Sorafenib and Regorafenib, but also by itself effectively kills liver cancer cells that are resistant to Sorafenib treatment. Snap Bio’s a long-term goal is to expand this program to other cancer types in which its lead molecules already have shown strong efficacy.
Endodermal cancers include malignancies of the pancreas, stomach, prostate, colon, and liver, which are characterized by exceptionally poor prognosis and represent three of the lowest cancer survival rates (5-year survival rate 5-20%). The complexity and heterogeneity of genetic mutations responsible for driving endodermal cancer cell growth has imposed challenges that have thwarted efforts to develop effective drugs for treating these cancers. In addition to high toxicity, current standard-of-care therapies for treating endodermal cancers provide only limited overall survival benefit (< 6 months). A clear unmet medical need exists for new endodermal cancer treatments, and to address that need, Snap Bio is developing potent and selective kinase inhibitors as precision medicines that are designed to disrupt specific cancer survival mechanisms and halt cancer cell growth while minimizing adverse side effects.