Cambridge, MA - June 17, 2009 – AVEO Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a biopharmaceutical company leveraging breakthrough discoveries in cancer biology to discover, develop and commercialize targeted oncology therapies, today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark Office granted to AVEO U.S. Patent No. 7,544,476. This patent covers the use of the expression level of a single gene, HeyL, as a predictive biomarker to identify human tumors that are likely to respond to treatment with inhibitors of the Notch pathway, thus adding to the intellectual property surrounding AVEO’s proprietary and translational biology platform.
“The discovery of HeyL as a biomarker of sensitivity to Notch pathway inhibitors will greatly facilitate AVEO’s program to develop monoclonal antibodies targeting the Notch pathway in cancer,” said Tuan Ha-Ngoc, president and chief executive officer of AVEO Pharmaceuticals. “The development of improved diagnostics based on the discovery of biomarkers has the potential to accelerate new drug development by identifying, in advance, responsive patients, thus realizing the vision of the company.”
About the Notch Pathway
The Notch pathway is widely recognized as a potential therapeutic target in the treatment of certain cancers, and is a key regulator of angiogenesis and cancer stem cells. However, the complexity of Notch biology makes the effect of Notch inhibition in any given tumor very difficult to predict. Therefore, the identification of a predictive biomarker is a critical step in the development of any therapeutic agent targeting Notch signaling in cancer.
To this end, AVEO researchers have identified key differences in expression of Notch pathway target genes between human cancer cell lines that were either sensitive or resistant to small molecule and biologic inhibitors of the Notch pathway. AVEO discovered that the expression of a single gene, known as HeyL, was predictive of sensitivity of human cancer cell lines to Notch pathway inhibition. Moreover, HeyL expression similarly correlated with Notch-dependence in vivo in a mouse model of cancer.