Shasqi Scientific Advisor Carolyn Bertozzi Awarded Nobel Prize for the Development of Click Chemistry
October 6, 2022
Shasqi’s click chemistry in humans, inspired by Dr. Bertozzi’s work in bioorthogonal chemistry, is leading the way to improving the utility and outcomes of cancer therapies
San Francisco, October 6, 2022 – Shasqi, a clinical stage biotech company developing oncology therapeutics with its proprietary Click Activated Protodrugs Against Cancer (CAPAC ®) platform, announced today that the company’s scientific advisor, Carolyn Bertozzi, Ph.D., has been awarded the 2022 Nobel Prize in Chemistry, alongside Morten Meldal, Ph.D. (University of Copenhagen, Denmark), and Nobel Laureate K. Barry Sharpless, Ph.D. (Scripps Research, La Jolla, CA, USA), for the development of click chemistry and bioorthogonal chemistry.
Click chemistry was first introduced in 2001 by Drs. Sharpless, Hartmuth Kolb, and M.G. Finn. It involves chemical reactions in which specific pairs of molecules selectively react with each other, ignoring their surroundings. Dr. Bertozzi and her team demonstrated that these types of reactions could be conducted in cells or animals without interfering with native biochemical processes. This phenomenon is now known as bioorthogonal chemistry.
Click chemistry and the tools that the concept has enabled have immensely enriched the fields of biology and medicine by providing orthogonal methods to explore biological processes. The elegant simplicity and functionality of this concept has enabled the pursuits of countless scientists around the world and fundamentally strengthened life science research, manufacturing and drug development.
“We, at Shasqi, are ecstatic to see that the concept and potential of click chemistry has been recognized by the world’s most respected award of scientific achievement, the Nobel Prize. We congratulate and celebrate Drs. Bertozzi, Meldal and Sharpless on their well-deserved prize and are incredibly fortunate to count on Dr. Bertozzi’s advice and support as our advisor,” said José M. Mejía Oneto, M.D., Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Shasqi. “Shasqi is proud to contribute to the ongoing advancement of biology and medicine, powered by click chemistry, by pioneering its use in humans to create better cancer therapies.”
Click chemistry serves as the foundation of Shasqi’s unique CAPAC platform, which enables precise oncology therapeutics to reach unprecedented doses at the tumor site with a strong safety profile. The company’s lead asset, SQ3370, has established click chemistry in humans and uses a powerful chemotherapeutic, doxorubicin, as the payload. Clinical results from a Phase I study have shown that SQ3370 is well-tolerated in patients. Despite dosing more than 10-times conventional Dox per cycle for up to 12 cycles, a maximally tolerated dose has not been identified to date. Based on these promising results, SQ3370 has advanced to a Phase II clinical trial, which is currently enrolling patients.
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