Founded in 2020, Signet Therapeutics is developing targeted small molecule cancer drugs using novel disease models.
Dr. Haisheng Zhang, CEO of Signet Therapeutics, and his core team members originate from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School. The company says that traditional in vitro studies use cell lines that cannot accurately model patient’s drug performance, often returning misleading bioactivity results that misguide the screening and optimization of lead compounds, which could result in clinical failure. Leveraging years of oncology and functional biology and genomic research expertise, Signet has instead developed a unique platform of novel disease models based on real-world cancer genomics data to simulate drug effects in 3D organ tissues that bear a closer resemblance to human biology and produce pharmacodynamics data with higher relevance to clinical performance.
Using its novel disease models platform, Signet discovered a promising new target for diffusive gastric cancer (DGC). It launched a drug discovery program with AI drug R&D company XtalPi and, in March 2021, announced the identification of a pre-clinical candidate in over six months. The company is now advancing two first-in-class oncology programs toward clinical trials. In addition, Signet plans to expand its platform of disease models to other cancer areas and empower target discovery and pharmacodynamics studies at other pharmaceutical companies on a greater scale.
Signet has raised two seed rounds totalling about $20 million within its first year.