Harvard University chemists have achieved a “landmark in drug discovery” with the synthesis of halichondrin, known to be a potent anti-cancer agent in preclinical mouse studies. Naturally found in sea sponges in tiny quantities, the halichondrin class of molecule is incredibly complex and has never been synthesized by a lab in any meaningful scale.
Harvard has changed that. The preclinical researchers have synthesized sufficient quantities of E7130, a drug candidate from the halichondrin class. Now clinical trials are next. In fact, Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD) has already licensed E7130 to Eisai, a Japanese pharmaceutical company that is already conducting clinical trial in Japan with hopes of launching one in America soon.
What is E7130?
E7130 is a halichondrin analogue derived from a marine sponge with potential antineoplastic activity. Upon intravenous infusion, halichondrin analogue E7130 may bind to the vinca domain of tubulin and inhibit the polymerization of the tubulin and the assembly of microtubules, thereby inhibiting mitotic spindle assembly and inducing cell cycle arrest of the G2/M phase.
Yoshito Kishi, Morris Loeb Professor of Chemistry Emeritus in Harvard’s Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology