Dracen, a private company developing proprietary anti-cancer drugs discovered at the Johns Hopkins University and the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IOCB Prague), received $36 million investment to advance its novel immuno-metabolism pipeline.
Dracen will use this financing, obtained from Deerfield, an investment management firm, to progress its programs into clinical trials for patients suffering from cancer. The company will develop its platform of novel glutamine antagonists by building upon the immuno-metabolism effects demonstrated in preclinical cancer models. Immuno-metabolism is the convergence of cancer metabolism and immuno-oncology whereby agents disrupt the energy sources required to keep tumors alive while simultaneously inducing the patient’s own immune system to fight cancer.
Dracen intends to develop its glutamine antagonists both in single-agent settings as well as in combination with immune checkpoint inhibitors such as anti-PD-1 and anti-PD-L1.
Dracen Pharmaceuticals was founded in 2017 to commercialize its novel technology: scientists developed a technique for modifying an existing drug candidate so that it can pass through the blood-brain barrier.