Washington University researchers led by Dr. Katherine C. Fuh recently examined the potential of Sequoia’s lead compound SQ1274 in the arsenal against ovarian and uterine cancer. Current treatment for these cancers is surgical removal of tumors, followed by chemotherapy with carboplatin and paclitaxel. Unfortunately, survival rates are low, due in part to resistance developed to paclitaxel. The group compared SQ1274 to paclitaxel and found that SQ1274 was more active against ovarian and uterine cancer cell lines, and that SQ1274 decreases expression of AXL, a protein contributing to paclitaxel resistance. Finally, they demonstrated that SQ1274 inhibited tumor growth more effectively in two mouse models. The authors conclude that “this study supports the development of SQ1274 as a chemotherapeutic to treat ovarian and uterine cancer.”
Scientists at Sequoia and AMRI worked together to optimize bifidenone, Sequoia’s plant-derived anticancer compound. The resulting compound has promising antitumor activity in mice, and is significantly more potent than paclitaxel against taxane-resistant cell lines in vitro.
The first total synthesis of bifidenone, a novel natural tubulin polymerization inhibitor, has been achieved in 12 steps starting from commercially available starting materials. Bifidenone is the plant compound that inspired SQ1274, Sequoia's compound in development as an anticancer compound.