- Lead compounds are dimeric mimetics of the natural regulator of cell death, Smac
- The superior performance conferred by the dimeric form of Smac mimetics is proprietary to the Company
- Combinations of the lead dimeric mimetics with a TRAIL ligand derivative will be pursued as part of the clinical development strategy
SMAC was formed in October 2013 as a spin-out from Joyant Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
SMAC’s research program is focused on an anti-cancer agent discovered by the founders of Joyant, Drs. Xiaodong Wang and Patrick Harran, that re-establishes the apoptotic pathway in cancer cells thus allowing them to die via programmed cell death. The current lead compound is a peptidomimetic of the naturally occurring protein, Smac (Second Mitochondrial Activator of Caspases). This small molecule compound functions to overcome the activity of IAPs (inhibitor of apoptosis protein) a group of proteins that prevents the execution of apoptosis in these cancer cells.
Metabolic stability and pharmacokinetics studies were performed to better characterize the profile of one of the lead candidates was found to be quite stable in all species studied. In addition, several other lead candidates will be profiled in order to select the optimal development candidate. Since an optimal clinical strategy could entail a combination strategy involving agonists of the TRAIL receptor, the Company identified a TRAIL ligand derivative that is expected to deliver superior pharmacology properties compared to other agonists under development. The company is currently validating this concept.