Prof. Dr. Heinz-Herbert Fiebig, CEO and Dr. Vincent Vuaroqueaux, CTO
Although the field of modern medicine pertaining to the treatment of cancer has significantly evolved in the last decade, the survival rate of patients with advanced malignancies remains dissatisfactory. Even today, only half of the patients with advanced cancers get cured with the current existing therapeutics, which are widely known to have side effects and resistance occurs. Research institutes, biotech and pharma industry around the globe continuously produce hundreds of thousands of compounds with a new mechanism of action that exude potential anti-tumor efficacy. However, most of these potential drugs fail during clinical trials due to the inappropriate preclinical investigation, including weak cut-off for efficacy, poor tumor selectivity, and lack of predictive biomarkers for proper patient selection. The recent technology breakthroughs through genetic analyses and determination of molecular alterations in cancers have revealed substantial evidence that confirms the enormous heterogeneity of tumors meaning not a single tumor is similar to another one, which explains for the heterogeneity in treatment response. In a situation like this, anti-cancer research requires a serious stimulation to improve preclinical drug discovery and development. As the biotechnology arena faces significant challenges in the discovery of more effective and less toxic cancer therapies, computational tools for preclinical research and productive drug discovery have become significantly crucial than ever. Catering to this need is 4HF Biotech, a German-based company that offers a sophisticated bioinformatics platform to discover new druggable targets, identify companion diagnostics, and evaluate novel anti-cancer drugs.
A Scalable Platform
With its outstanding bioinformatics platform, 4HF Biotec offers services as a CRO for biotech and pharma industry to optimally determine the best tumor indications, suitable drug targets, and predictive biomarkers to optimize drug efficacy. “We tailor our work to clients’ research projects and final goals. Our platform and proprietary integrative tools aid our clients to analyze and enhance the information on their already selected target of their candidate drugs,” says Prof. Dr. Heinz- Herbert Fiebig, CEO of 4HF Biotec.
We build unique proprietary databases and offer a sophisticated bioinformatics platform to discover new druggable targets, identify companion diagnostics, and evaluate novel anticancer drugs
4HF Biotec’s brings forward - a network of experts in medical oncology, new anti-cancer drug evaluation, OMICS/ Bioinformatics, and drug chemistry to identify new small molecules that represent future cancer treatments. They continuously research on integrative analysis of cancer information and identify treatments that more specifically target cancer cells and limit side effects. Wide varieties of compounds with known or putative anti-tumor activities are selected and engaged in testing series with large sets of tumors.
The 4HF Biotech also has a robust and comprehensive database. The company’s database contains information on most tumor types and established models that have been annotated with millions of data points. These data points comprise drug sensitivity profiles tested in vitro and in vivo as well as molecular characteristics such as exome mutations and expression profiles. 4HF Biotec started several projects to identify new drug targets. A bioinformatics approach is used to curate and prioritize molecular drivers to reveal new cancer vulnerabilities. 4HF Biotec will also be developing new small inhibitors-based and therapeutic antibodies therapeutics that will be evaluated via the company’s drug discovery programs.
The drug sensitivity profile testings provides essential information on the safety and efficiency of the corresponding drug, facilitating clients to determine the therapeutic benefits and potential side effects to patients. “Utilizing data mining-based strategies for cancer drug discovery, we evaluate novel anti-cancer drugs at the preclinical stage and analyze molecular cancer features contained in our databases to permit the discovery of novel targets,” states Dr. Vincent Vuaroqueaux, CTO of 4HF Biotec.
Each new drug evaluation project includes a biomarker discovery program to improve cancer patient selection and stratification in clinical trials. Every molecular feature associated with drug sensitivities like genetic alteration or gene expression profiles is systematically revealed through various statistical tests. In this way, algorithms and predictive models are developed to determine individual cancer susceptibility to therapies. “Our platform integrates tools to match and compare patient tumor information to preclinical models, which provides precise information on targets that will most likely respond to a given compound,” mentions Fiebig. This approach assists clients to easily detect druggable targets, thus avoiding unnecessary treatment and increasing clinical trial success rates.
The Journey Ahead
Moving forward, 4HF Biotec focuses on further developing and promoting the bioinformatics platform. “We are also looking for partners with experience in developing antibodies and capture the toxin to these antibodies to improve cancer therapy,” exclaims Vuaroqueaux. The company also plans to deploy specific immune therapeutics and generate cancer antibody drug conjugates to generate highly selective cancer therapeutics. “4HF Biotec strives to enable and accelerate the cancer drug discovery process with tools that help to find more selective anti-cancer drugs,” concludes Fiebig.