Yukin Therapeutics operates in a fantastically beautify and fascinating place called Nice, France. The place has a history of doing things differently. After all, it often would align with one city state or principality over another as the residents were fiercely independent, intelligent and persistent. That ethos has made its way into the cancer-fighting paradigm of Yukin. Most cancer treatments come in one of two flavors: either 1) those that kill tumor cells directly (e.g. chemotherapy) and 2) those that empower immune cells to attack the cancer cells (e.g. CAR-T cell therapies and checkpoint inhibitors). The French operating out of Nice seek are working on small molecule drugs with a totally different approach.
The Yukin Way in Nice, France
The team at Yukin rather design drugs that inhibit the NIK kinase protein in tumor cells; the goal is to attack tumor cells from being able to proliferate in the first place. But it gets better. Yukin’s scientists are working on ways to produce chemical signals that actually morph the tumor microenvironment—softening the ground for immune cells to infiltrate and destroy a tumor. Yukin’s investigational drugs make tumor cells more vulnerable to the immune system—bringing together synergistically the use of anti-PD-1 treatments and their investigational compounds.
Presently Yukin is at the discovery stage and has not yet selected a lead compound to take to preclinical trials. Hence they are still in a very early stage but undoubtedly a very interesting partnering target for a larger biopharmaceutical company. Yukin expects to target cancers known to express NIK kinase such as melanoma reports Labiotech.
The Nice, France-based company was founded in 2018 and has raised 3.3 million Euros just in June to support the development of a lead candidate. The venture will seek more capital after 2020 and hope to launch clinical trials in 2022—only three years away.
CEO Arnaud Foussat is based in the Nice, France area. He earned his Ph.D. in Immunology from Universite Denis Diderot (Paris). Mr. Foussat has been very active in the southern French biotech scene based on his LinkedIn profile.
Only a few other employees are listed in LinkedIn as being associated with Yukin and they include Adam Gilbert, Pascal Dao, and Philippe Guinot, MD.