Agendia, Inc. and several European partners have received a $6.8 million European Commission grant to study targeted therapies for colorectal cancer (CRC). The grantees will test therapies matched to the molecular subtype of each patient’s tumor, to see if they are more effective than current therapies not keyed to a tumor’s subtype. Agendia technology will be used to determine the molecular subtypes of the cancers studied.
The title of the project is “Molecularly guided trials with specific treatment strategies in patients with advanced newly molecular defined subtypes of colorectal cancer,” abbreviated as “MoTriColor.” The four-year project will perform phase II studies across Europe for the treatment of molecular subgroups of CRC patients with advanced disease.
“This grant recognizes the value of Agendia’s ability to identify the molecular subtypes that are a central part of precision medicine to treat cancer,” said Mark Straley, Agendia’s CEO.
“Our technology has already demonstrated the value of this approach for breast cancer,” said Rene Bernards, Agendia’s Chief Scientific Officer. “The MoTriColor study is expected to show that a similar therapeutic strategy can benefit colon cancer patients.”
Including Agendia, the MoTriColor project encompasses 10 institutions in the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Italy. Two major pharmaceutical companies are expected to support the research.
Like breast cancer, CRC is increasingly seen not as a single disease but rather a group of diseases with distinct molecular subtypes. The MoTriColor research is particularly aimed at CRC patients with a poor prognosis. Roughly 40-50% of these patients worldwide, including about 40,000 European patients, have one of the three molecular subtypes matched to targeted therapies in the MoTriColor project and thus could benefit from the study’s results.