Shasqi Awarded Prestigious Direct-to-Phase-2 Small Business Innovation Research Grant by National Cancer Institute

April 27, 2021

Shasqi Awarded Prestigious Direct-to-Phase-2 Small Business Innovation Research Grant by National Cancer Institute

- $2 million grant will fund immune biomarker analysis in Phase 1 clinical study of SQ3370 as well as manufacturing process development

- SQ3370 is a click-activated protodrug therapy currently in a Phase 1 clinical study in advanced sarcomas and other solid tumors

SAN FRANCISCO, April 27, 2021, Shasqi, a clinical-stage biotechnology company developing precision activated oncology therapeutics with its proprietary Click Activated Protodrugs Against Cancer (CAPAC™) Platform, announced today that it has been awarded a $2 million Direct-to-Phase-2 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI). These non-dilutive funds will support immune biomarker analysis of patient samples from Shasqi’s Phase 1 clinical trial of lead candidate SQ3370 as well as manufacturing process development.

“We are thrilled the NCI sees the potential of SQ3370 as a novel therapy that could meaningfully impact outcomes for patients with solid tumors,” said José M. Mejía Oneto, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Shasqi. “Our goal at Shasqi is to improve the safety and efficacy of novel and existing standard of care cancer drugs by directly activating them at the tumor. Our approach is designed to improve the therapeutic window of a drug by maximizing the exposure of the drug to the tumor.”

Wayne Saville, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Shasqi commented, “We appreciate the NCI’s support to evaluate the immune signatures in patient samples from our ongoing Phase 1 trial of SQ3370. This information will provide mechanistic insight about the interplay between SQ3370 and changes to local and systemic immune responses observed in our preclinical tumor studies. In addition, funds from this grant will also allow us to fine-tune our current manufacturing process as we continue to advance SQ3370 through clinical studies.”

CAPAC and SQ3370: SQ3370 utilizes Shasqi’s proprietary CAPAC platform, a click chemistry-based approach that activates cancer drugs at a tumor with decreased systemic toxicity. The platform is based on the chemical reaction between an attenuated trans-cyclooctene-modified protodrug and a tetrazine-modified biopolymer. The biopolymer is injected into the target tumor lesion, where it precisely activates an intravenously infused protodrug. Unlike traditional targeted therapies, the CAPAC platform is agnostic to tumor characteristics that can vary from patient to patient, such as biomarker expression and enzymatic activity.

About Shasqi: Shasqi is a privately held, clinical-stage biotechnology company whose mission is to enable patients to beat cancer without poisoning their bodies. Shasqi leverages its proprietary CAPAC Platform to develop precision oncology therapeutics designed to improve efficacy while decreasing systemic toxicity. Shasqi’s CAPAC Platform is highly modular and can be applied to a broad range of drugs that are otherwise limited by toxicity, enabling the exploration of therapeutic biology in ways that were not previously possible.

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