Fully committed to the fight against cancer, Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale has been partnering up for several years with the collective “Ensemble contre le mélanome”, alongside Pr Caroline Robert, head of the dermatology department at the Cancer Campus of Institut Gustave Roussy. Crédit Mutuel Alliance Fédérale has also sponsored research spearheaded by Pr Caroline Robert.
In 2021, when this research led to the creation of Ribonexus, Crédit Mutuel Innovation took part in the initial fund raising of €4 million, alongside AdBio partners and Pierre Fabre. “I really feel supported in this endeavour by the whole Crédit Mutuel group and that is very much appreciated,” said Caroline Robert enthusiastically.
EFFICACY DECREASING OVER TIME
Although targeted therapies and immunotherapies drastically improve prospects for cancer patients, the overall efficacy of these treatments tends to decrease over time. Indeed, patients often start developing resistance and they relapse after a few months or a few years of treatment.
Developing treatments complementing standard therapies that could boost their efficacy
However, the research led by the two scientific advisors and co-founders of Ribonexus, Pr Caroline Robert and Dr Stéphan Vagner, research director specialising in RNA biology at Institut Curie, has shown that by blocking the production of some proteins in the cells via messenger RNA, it was possible to cancel or significantly delay the apparition of resistance to melanoma treatments. “We think we could develop treatments complementing standard therapies to boost their efficacy. The goal would be of course to help with melanoma, but also with other types of cancer,” explained Caroline Robert.
SELECTING THE MOST PROMISING MOLECULES
The first step is testing on cells several compounds that could have the desired effect, in order to select the best drug-candidates. The additional expertise of Dr Laurent Desaubry, specialist in medical chemistry and research director at Université de Strasbourg, as well as co-founder of Ribonexus and Pierre Fabre, will be extremely valuable. Through an exclusive license agreement, Pierre Fabre has also provided the start-up with a library of molecules targeting a protein that has been linked with the apparition of resistance with numerous current therapies.
“Ribonexus is relying on an expert team to tackle this issue, with the reassuring alliance of an industrial company and top-tier scientists, which gives us a reason to hope for promising results,” added Laurianne Garcia-Ordonez and Jérôme Féraud, respectively Associate and Director for Crédit Mutuel Innovation. The goal is to start conducting trials on mice within one year.