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Onconova Therapeutics, Pangea Biomed Collaborate on AI-Driven Cancer Biomarker Study

NEW YORK – Onconova Therapeutics on Thursday said it will collaborate with Pangea Biomed to identify biomarkers of response to Onconova's cancer drug candidate rigosertib.

Tel Aviv, Israel-based Pangea's ENLIGHT (Expression Networks for highLIGHting Tumor vulnerabilities) transcriptomics-based AI platform uses in vitro, preclinical, and clinical datasets to build genetic interaction maps that can identify gene pairs with significance for tumor vulnerability. The companies will use ENLIGHT to search for biomarkers related to inhibition of the PLK1 pathway, then generate additional genetic interaction maps around other pathways targeted by rigosertib.

Rigosertib targets the RAS binding domain, which allows it to modulate the PI3K and PLK1 pathways and the tumor microenvironment. Onconova said that in clinical studies the drug was active against non-small cell lung cancer in combination with checkpoint inhibition and had activity as a monotherapy in advanced squamous cell carcinoma associated with recessive dystrophic epidermolysis bullosa, which is driven by PLK1 overexpression.

"By leveraging Pangea's AI platform to identify predictive biomarkers of response to rigosertib, we aim to inform a precision medicine approach to selecting additional PLK1-dependent tumors and other indications for its potential evaluation," Onconova president and CEO Steven Fruchtman said in a statement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Newtown, Pennsylvania-based Onconova will retain all rights to rigosertib and will own intellectual property resulting from the collaboration.