A biotechnological company, based in Spain, is leader in the development and commercialization of novel, tailor-made solutions based on in vivo zebrafish assays. The team count on highly qualified biotechnology experts, a fully equipped biotech laboratory and an animal facility equipped with 76 aquariums (capacity for 2.500 zebrafish).
Thanks to the extensive knowledge acquired by the R&D projects performed in the field for many years, and a close collaboration with hospitals and cancer research institutions, they have identified a remarkable opportunity to develop a research project based on in vivo zebrafish assays for cancer treatment.
A major difficulty found in effective cancer treatment is the complexity of the biological mechanism underlying cancer onset and disease progression. This is because the genetic makeup and metabolic profile of each individual patient influence the effect of anticancer drugs. Therefore, different people respond differently to the same therapy. The aim of the project would be to bring to the healthcare market a novel real time in vivo platform for personalized cancer treatment based on the use of zebrafish “avatars” as personalized, living test tubes.
In the project, a clinical study of the use of zebrafish avatars with colon cancer will be performed. Firstly, a complete molecular profiling will be performed, and it will stratify them according to cancer phenotypes. Then, for each cancer phenotype, the zebrafish xenotransplantation platform will be used in the selection of the most effective drug combinations, creating a phenotypes-molecules library (available in the form of a software tool).
This database (software) will allow narrowing the drug combinations that will work best for each cancer phenotype, so the number of fishes required to perform the study in patients can be significantly reduced (firstly patients will be stratified according to phenotype, and only a reduce number of experiments with a limited number of drug combinations will have to be performed).
The company is looking to build up a consortium to apply for a Fast Track to Innovation call (February 2020) in the scope of personalized cancer therapeutics, specifically colon cancer. The enterprise, as main partner involved in the project, will work in cooperation with a public institution, a research center and a university (all of them as subcontractors in the project).
In order to build up a consortium, partners with the following profiles will be evaluated:
- A genome research company: to create the genetic and molecular profile of each type of tumor (biopsies from patients) carrying out NGS (Next-Generation Sequencing) studies such as sequencing, transcriptomics. In addition, it is required bioinformatics analysis.
- A big data company: to create a database with all obtained data (software).
- And a big pharma (drug development): to count with a specified pipeline of potential antitumor drugs (against colon cancer) in order to validate the zebrafish models.
Official deadline for the call: 19/02/2020
Deadline for expressions of interest: 17/10/2020
Anticipated duration of the project: 2 years