ChromaCure, a spin-off from the Université libre de Bruxelles (ULB), has been founded by Professor Cédric Blanpain, WELBIO investigator at the ULB. ChromaCure’s mission is to discover and develop first-in-class small molecule therapeutics for unmet needs in oncology. The company will develop inhibitors of a novel target that is a key regulator of tumor initiation and progression, based on research conducted by Prof. Blanpain and his group at the Laboratory of Stem Cells and Cancer, in particular in the framework of his first WELBIO project.
Pr. Blanpain is leader in the field of cancer stem cells. His first WELBIO project (2011-2015) aimed at defining the role of recently identified markers in the regulation of cancer stem cells and in malignant progression, in skin cancer models. His current WELBIO project (2015-2019) aims at understanding tumor heterogeneity in squamous cell carcinoma. His results were recently published in the prestigious journal Nature.
ChromaCure will initiate a drug development program aimed at the identification of novel lead candidates that selectively and potently inhibit the target and could potentially provide a novel therapy for multiple cancer indications. The current financing round (17 M EUR committed) will fund the identification and progression of a lead candidate through earlystage clinical testing. ChromaCure will be based in based in Charleroi BioPark (Gosselies). It will be led by Jalal Vakili, CEO, who has been involved in various aspects of drug development at Ablynx, the Jules Bordet Cancer Centre in Brussels and at the French pharmaceutical group Servier.
The launch of this spin-off is an important milestone for WELBIO, an inter-university life sciences research institute funded by the Wallonia. Other WELBIO investigators have recently lauched spin-offs based on research performer prior to their WELBIO project (A-Mansia, by Prof. Cani at the UCL and Epics Therapeutics by Prof. Fuks at the ULB). Chromacure is the first spin-off emerging from a WELBIO project. It brilliantly illustrates WELBIO’s mission: to create added value for the Walloon economy, in the biomedical field, by supporting strategic basic research through carefully selected projects from universities in the Wallonia-Brussels Federation.