Without a doubt, 2020 has been a trying year. The pandemic has touched every business and every human on earth in different ways. And despite all of its tragic outcomes, it has starkly reminded me that we work in one of the most exciting and innovative industries in the world — the life sciences industry.
I am writing this at a time when the US FDA has just issued an emergency use authorization for a vaccine using new technology, against a new pathogen. We are also just days away from another potential FDA vaccine approval. All of this happened in only a few months and it’s remarkable. Although we do not work in vaccines or pathogenic diseases, and I’ve discussed why in a recent post, I feel more energized than ever to be a part of an industry that can make this happen.
And I am excited about the role that twoXAR will play within our industry. This year we have made significant progress moving twoXAR forward and in developing potentially new treatments for several diseases with high unmet needs. We plan to stay this course, because COVID-19 is just one of many diseases where patients need new treatment options. Fighting this virus is by far today’s priority, but in the long run, there are many more diseases that our industry needs to tackle.
With that, I want to highlight a few things that happened at twoXAR this past year and outline where we are headed.
First, we announced two significant new hires.
We have a remarkable scientific team at twoXAR consisting of many Ph.D. scientists, most of which have an affiliation with Stanford University. They represent one of the most collaborative and open-minded teams I have ever worked with. This year, we added Dr. Mark Eller, Ph.D. as the Senior Vice President of Research and Development and Dr. Anjali Pandey, Ph.D. as the Senior Vice President of Nonclinical R&D and Chemistry.
Both Mark and Anjali come to twoXAR with a significant track record of success in bringing new therapies to market. Where most scientists spend their whole career on only one or two successful drug development programs, between the two of them they are responsible for 90+ patents and 19 FDA approvals to date. They have already made significant contributions to how we think about drug discovery and development here at twoXAR and I’m looking forward to their leadership in the coming years. You can read more about Mark and Anjali here.
We presented data at four prestigious medical conferences.
I remain incredibly optimistic about our preclinical data across all of our 18 therapeutic areas. This year, that data was validated by scientific peers and accepted at four medical meetings for five of our leads. Each lead demonstrated a novel MOA that had never been tested in their respective disease areas and showed positive efficacy and safety in vivo. We’re looking forward to presenting more data across our pipeline in 2021. Below is a rundown of this year’s highlights.
· The Annual Meeting of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases (AASLD): twoXAR presented data on two novel leads for the potential treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), TXR-611 and TXR-612. The full announcement can be read here.
· American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting: We presented preclinical data in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) for our investigational treatment TXR-311 with a novel MOA. That announcement can be found here.
· The 12th European Lupus Congress and the European Congress of Rheumatology EULAR 2020: Our team presented data on two novel leads for the potential treatment of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), TXR-711 and TXR-712. You can read our announcement here.
We have made tremendous progress in validating our drug candidates.
We ended 2020 in a strong position, identifying potentially promising hits across 18 different therapeutic areas. I am proud to say that in 11 of those programs we have identified a lead compound for further advancement. We will present findings on additional diseases at scientific conferences throughout 2021.
We also announced more specifics on the disease targets we are developing our candidates against. A notable one that I want to highlight is our work with 1ST Biotherapeutics, a clinical-stage biotechnology company focused on neurodegenerative diseases, immuno-oncology, and orphan diseases. We announced in February that we will work with 1ST Biotherapeutics to advance three novel drug leads for the potential treatment of glioblastoma into in vivo efficacy testing. This is a very complex cancer where new treatments are urgently needed. It took us less than a year to reach this milestone from launching the drug discovery collaboration, compared to the traditional approaches that take many years to reach similar milestones.
A full look at our pipeline is below.
While I firmly believe our value is demonstrated in the results of this pipeline, I am also honored to be part of a company that is being recognized for its work. This past year, Forbes named us one of America’s most promising AI companies and Frost & Sullivan recognized us as a top innovator for drug discovery in the pharmaceutical industry.
This is just the start for our team here at twoXAR. This past year has been remarkable on many levels, and despite all the setbacks of this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, we stayed the course because there are many more diseases that need our attention. As the revered scientist Dr. Paul Janssen once said, “There is so much more to be done; the patients are waiting.”
I hope each of you have a wonderful 2021 and I also hope that despite all of the consequences of this year, it has showed us that we work in one of the most innovative and exciting industries in the world.