The ATRIN solution is the culmination of work that began as a post doc study by Oren Gilad PhD and Eric Brown PhD at the University of Pennsylvania, School of Medicine. The question they sought to answer was: is ATR a good target for cancer therapy? Over the next four years, they investigated the ATR protein, its biological function, mechanism, what activates it, and much more.
Always with a view to understanding how it could be used to treat cancer.
The results were astounding – they showed that ATR is hyperactive in cancer cells compared to normal cells, suggesting that they perform a vital function without which the cancer cells could be destroyed. In 2010, Dr. Gilad and Dr. Brown published their findings, concluding that a drug that would reduce ATR would be an effective treatment against certain cancers. The response was overwhelmingly positive, and the article quickly climbed to the top 2-3% of the AACR. After attending an entrepreneur’s course at Wharton Business School, in order to prepare the partners to turn their scientific findings into a successful business, Atrin was established in 2012. The new company signed licensing agreements with the University of Pennsylvania, securing an initial investment to set up a laboratory.
Having established a high caliber team of researchers and advisers, work began in earnest to develop a drug that would inhibit ATR, and thereby destroy cancer cells. Atrin has since cracked the code for ATR inhibition, developing a molecule that causes the collapse of replication forks, killing a broad spectrum of cancer cells.