GPCRs are one of the largest family of human receptors (olfactory and non-olfactory) whose functions are only partially characterized. They are involved in most of the physio-pathological mechanisms and are one of the most successful target classes for the development of innovative drugs: in fact, one third of the drugs currently on the market comes from this family of proteins (total market more than $ 700 billion). Recent results demonstrate that the olfactory receptors (400 human olfactory GPCRs) are expressed in most tissues outside the nasal sphere, including in cells of the immune system, and that these ectopic olfactory receptors have therapeutic potential largely unexplored until now. ChemCom has accumulated the largest collection in the world of olfactory receptors for which ligands (agonists, antagonists or positive allosteric modulators) have been identified (more than 120 human olfactory receptors) and will therefore be directly useful to validate the role of those receptors in some human diseases that still lack efficient treatment. Thus, ChemCom should be considered the partner of choice for drug candidate discovery programs. In that respect, ChemCom is pleased to announce the New Target Collaboration and Biowin Grant Award for the identification of new immune-oncology targets.
ChemCom S.A, together with Iteos Therapeutics S.A., ImmunXperts S.A., the de Duve Institute and IRIBHM, have been awarded a €1.6 million grant through a BioWin project called IT-Targets. The aim of this collaboration is to identify innovative drug candidates and biomarkers for immunotherapy of various types of cancer, starting from patient tumor-derived material. The IT-Targets project will focus on G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs), which will be selected by profiling the most important immune cell types purified from clinical samples. Despite the fact that GPCRs are the largest signal-conveying receptor family and mediate many physiological processes, their role in tumor biology is underappreciated. GPCRs and their downstream signaling are involved in cancer growth and development by controlling many features of tumorigenesis, including immune cell-mediated functions, proliferation, invasion and survival at the secondary site. The project combines the IRIBHM‘s expertise in GPCR discovery and validation, the unique technology on sensory GPCRs developed by ChemCom, and the in-depth tumor immunology expertise of de Duve Institute with the drug discovery capabilities of iTeos and the expertise of ImmunXperts with human primary cells in immuno-oncology. “We are proud and honored to belong to this consortium, with each member bringing its specific but complementary expertizes to tackle oncology and to bring innovative therapeutic solutions to patient suffering from cancer. This consortium will focus on the exploration of GPCRs, including sensory ones, which are often omitted for immunotherapy applications” said Yannick Quesnel, CSO of ChemCom. “ChemCom has built a tremendous knowledge base using its patented technological platform focusing on chemical communication mediated by sensory receptors. These receptors’ expression is not restricted to the orinasal cavity, but spread out all over the human body. It is now time for ChemCom to explore applications outside taste and olfaction areas”.