Funds Will Support the SU2C Catalyst program and the Study of Small Molecule Inhibitors for Treating Cancer
LOS ANGELES – March 15, 2022 – Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) and Zentalis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: ZNTL) today announced that Zentalis will contribute $1 million to the SU2C Catalyst® program to support research that investigates the use of certain small molecule inhibitors for treating a variety of cancer types.
Through the SU2C Catalyst® program, companies donate funds and products to collaborative research studies, in which use of the companies’ products or materials is incorporated into the research.
Those materials might include new pharmaceutical compounds that companies are developing or approved agents that can be investigated for other uses. Research supported by the new Zentalis grant will explore how small molecule inhibitors under development by Zentalis have the potential, alone or in combination, to treat cancers. A primary goal of SU2C Catalyst program is to encourage collaborative research between academics and companies and shorten the time it takes to get new treatments to patients.
“Zentalis Pharmaceuticals’ contribution to our SU2C Catalyst program is greatly appreciated; I’m excited to see how we can bring better treatments to patients faster through this collaboration,” said Sung Poblete, PhD, RN, CEO of SU2C. “Small molecule inhibitors hold substantial promise as targeted cancer therapeutics, giving researchers the opportunity to develop more specific and targeted therapies with fewer side effects. The ability to access Zentalis’ pipeline of novel small molecule inhibitors will provide a wonderful opportunity to the SU2C research portfolio.”
Unlike traditional cancer therapeutics that broadly kill rapidly dividing cells, small molecule inhibitors are targeted anti-cancer drugs that are usually taken orally and block specific proteins used by tumor cells for survival, growth or spread. One such candidate under development by Zentalis, ZN-c3, is designed to block a protein called Wee1, which is present at high levels in many cancer types. Research demonstrates that inhibiting Wee1 can cause cell death in some tumors that depend on the protein; Zentalis is currently conducting ongoing monotherapy and combination studies evaluating its Wee1 inhibitor in patients.
“By establishing a mechanism through which industry and academic scientists collaborate, we can accelerate the development and commercialization of new treatments,” said Lee Helman, MD, vice chair of SU2C’s Scientific Advisory Committee, director of the Osteosarcoma Institute and adjunct professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Cancer and Blood Disease Institute, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, and University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine. “It will be intriguing to see how our SU2C-funded researchers can utilize Zentalis’ ZN-c3 to study the role of Wee1 in tumor growth in depth and use this information to potentially develop new therapeutic strategies utilizing Wee1 inhibition. The insights from these studies can have a great impact given the prevalence of Wee1 activation in many types of cancer.”
In addition to ZN-c3, Zentalis’ pipeline includes numerous small molecule inhibitors aimed at treating a range of cancers, including breast cancer, acute myeloid leukemia, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-small cell lung cancer.
“We are proud to support the SU2C Catalyst program and the collaborative research process that it enables,” commented Dr. Anthony Sun, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Zentalis. “When industry and academic partners work together, we are better equipped to uncover research breakthroughs and quickly advance promising therapies through the clinic in hopes of making a difference in patients’ lives.”
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About Stand Up To Cancer
Stand Up To Cancer® (SU2C) raises funds to accelerate the pace of research to get new therapies to patients quickly and save lives now. SU2C, a division of the Entertainment Industry Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, was established in 2008 by media and entertainment leaders who utilize these communities’ resources to engage the public in supporting a new, collaborative model of cancer research, to increase awareness about cancer prevention, and to highlight progress being made in the fight against the disease. As of January 2022, more than 2,000 scientists representing more than 210 institutions are involved in SU2C-funded research projects.
Under the direction of our Scientific Advisory Committee, led by Nobel laureate Phillip A. Sharp, Ph.D., SU2C conducts rigorous competitive review processes to identify the best research proposals to recommend for funding, oversee grants administration, and ensure collaboration across research programs.
Current members of the SU2C Founders and Advisors Committee (FAC) include Katie Couric, Sherry Lansing, Kathleen Lobb, Lisa Paulsen, Rusty Robertson, Sue Schwartz, Pamela Oas Williams, and Ellen Ziffren. The late Laura Ziskin and the late Noreen Fraser are also co-founders. Sung Poblete, Ph.D., R.N., serves as SU2C’s CEO, and Russell Chew as SU2C’s President.
Zentalis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on discovering and developing small molecule therapeutics targeting fundamental biological pathways of cancers. The Company is developing a broad pipeline of potentially best-in-class oncology candidates, all internally discovered, which include ZN-c3, a Wee1 inhibitor for advanced solid tumors, ZN-c5, an oral selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD) for ER+/HER2- breast cancer, ZN-d5, a BCL-2 inhibitor for hematologic malignancies and related disorders, ZN-e4, an EGFR inhibitor for non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) and a heterobifunctional degrader of BCL-xL for solid and hematological malignancies. The Company has licensed ZN-c3, ZN-c5 and ZN-d5 to its joint venture, Zentera Therapeutics, to develop and commercialize these candidates in China. Zentalis has operations in both New York and San Diego.