Science

Science

Our scientific research is devoted to the creation and development of improved therapies that target hormone receptors.

Our research supports a deep pipeline of clinical and preclinical product candidates that target various hormone receptors and have the potential to treat a variety of oncologic, urologic and musculoskeletal diseases. We use our experience and understanding of established hormone pathways to develop new medicines for serious medical conditions.

Cell receptors, including hormone receptors, are special proteins found within cells. Cells of different types have receptors that are unique to them based on their function in the body. Not all cell types have the same types of receptors.

Tumor cells often have a greater number of their characteristic receptors, in greater variety than their corresponding normal cell type. This fact allows for treatment to be designed to preferentially target tumor cells based on their having more receptors than normal cells. In addition, tumor cells often have receptors that genetically different from what the normal cells have. These “abnormal” receptors in tumors (such as genetic mutations that lead to different protein structures) can lead to lack of effectiveness of some hormone therapies.

These cellular receptor proteins are where and how messages from substances in the bloodstream interact with cells. Through the interaction of a particular hormone in the bloodstream with its corresponding receptor on a cell, the receptors become an “on” or “off” switch for a particular activity in the cell. If a substance comes along that fits into the right receptor — like a key fitting into a lock — the switch is turned on and a particular activity in the cell begins. This is called an agonistic activity. Alternatively, some substances can interact with a receptor in a way to not turn on the cell activity, but only keep the receptor bound (or out of action) and prevent it from being bound and turned on by another substance. This activity is called antagonism.

The small molecules that we are developing selectively bind to and modulate hormone receptors but may display unique and improved clinical activities – acting as agonist (turning on) or antagonist (turning off, or blocking a more active agonist from binding) – depending on the tissue type.