September 13, 2018
National Cancer Institute Renews Grant for Tosk’s kRAS Cancer Program
Tosk, Inc. announced today that the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) has renewed Tosk’s Phase II SIBR grant to support the drug company’s promising kRAS oncogene drug development program, a high priority for the NCI. The renewal provides an additional $1 million of grant funding for the program over a period of one year.
Cancer patients with a mutant kRAS gene – approximately 40 percent of all cancer patients – are unable to benefit from EGFR-inhibitor cancer therapies, such as Erbitux®️. Furthermore, mutant kRAS has been estimated to drive 90 percent of pancreatic cancers, 45 percent of colon cancers, 35 percent of lung cancers, and a smaller percentage in other cancers.
Tosk’s scientists are focused on breakthrough therapies that address so-called difficult-to-modulate targets, such as oncogenic kRAS. Tosk’s CEO, Brian Frenzel said, “kRAS is characterized as an ‘undruggable’ target, since many research efforts targeting it have failed. We have a different approach to discovering such a drug by using our Genetically Modified Fly™ technology.” Tosk will collaborate with Scientific Advisory Board member, Prof. Jeff Thomas, at the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, and with the NCI in pursing the goal of finding a drug to block the activity of the most virulent subtype of the human kRAS gene.
The NCI-supported kRAS program is one of a number of Tosk initiatives. The company currently has three active programs designed to block the painful, debilitating and potentially fatal adverse side effects caused by common cancer treatments. One patented drug, TK-90, has completed trials in head and neck cancer patients with favorable results. TK-90 is designed to prevent mucositis, the inflammation and ulceration of the mucosal membranes lining the digestive tract, a painful, dose-limiting side effect of certain cancer therapies. The company also has programs targeting the cardiotoxicity and kidney toxicity caused by cancer drugs.