Aiming to be a leader in environmentally friendly cancer therapies that have few side effects, Arctic Pharma AS is a start-up company developing innovative anti-cancer drugs by exploiting the "sweet tooth" of cancer cells.
Participant profile: Arctic Pharma AS
Developing innovative anti-cancer drugs
by exploiting the "sweet tooth" of cancer cells.
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Directly targeting key enzymes that are up-regulated in cancer cell metabolism with Arctic Pharma-designed inhibitors
By targeting key enzymes that are up-regulated in cancer cell metabolism using inhibitors designed by them, Arctic Pharma is able to develop new pharmaceuticals with fewer side effects to combat cancer. Arctic’s research focuses on glucose metabolism, starting with the conversion of glucose to pyruvate in the glycolysis pathway.
Pyruvate is then channeled to the mitochondria and further metabolized, leading to the production of vast amounts of ATP – the cell’s energy currency. In presence of oxygen, most cells primarily rely on oxidative phosphorylation in mitochondria to generate the energy needed for all cellular processes. Since this process is very effective, glycolysis rates are rather low. When oxygen levels are low, for example, in muscle cells after intensive training, pyruvate is not further metabolized in the mitochondria but converted to lactate in the cytosol. This process is termed anaerobic glycolysis.
In contrast to normal cells, many cancer cells exhibit high rates of glucose uptake and are hallmarked by high glycolysis rates. The produced pyruvate is not channeled into oxidative phosphorylation but is fermented to lactate, even in presence of sufficient amounts of oxygen. This phenomenon is known as the Warburg effect or aerobic glycolysis. It is believed that the shift to lactate fermentation equips cancer cells with growth advantages, the possibility to incorporate more biomass for cell proliferation, and to produce ATP in an oxygen-independent manner.
Harnessing a broad range of experience in early drug discovery
Arctic’s highly skilled personnel utilizes modern technology as they strive to achieve their goals. This includes enzyme assay development, X-ray crystallography, computer-assisted drug design and advanced medicinal chemistry, as well as cell-based assays and biophysical evaluation of the drug candidates.
Meet the team
Claudia A. McDonald Bøen
Responsible for Arctic Pharma’s strategy and vision, Claudia oversees the day-to-day operations of the business and its employees.
The Hive project will increase visibility of my team’s work in the biotech and pharmaceutical industry. Access & training to Elsevier’s information solutions will help us in our goal to develop and optimize our lead compounds to the clinic.
Project Leader in Biochemistry
Steffi is involved in Arctic Pharma's biochemistry department, where she plays a major role in the development and execution of enzymatic assays.
The Hive will enable me to keep up-to-date in the field of cancer drug development through ScienceDirect. I will be able to collect information on target enzymes, assay development and obtain frequent updates on advances in the field of cancer research. Since we are working with small molecule drug discovery, the programs Reaxys® Medicinal Chemistry and PharmaPendium™ are especially interesting.
Project Leader in Medicinal Chemistry
Bora leads the medicinal chemistry part of the company, designing and synthesizing compounds of interest.
Elsevier’s solutions will provide us with rapid access to chemical data. Reaxys® when planning new synthetic routes to find relevant examples; Reaxys Medicinal Chemistry for finding compounds which are known to interact with our target and thus help us when designing analogs and to synthesize more potent compounds; and PharmaPendium™ will help us with our drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics studies of our lead compounds before we go into animals.
Scientist in Biochemistry
Kathrin is part of Arctic Pharma’s biochemistry team. She is responsible for designing and optimizing assays that help Arctic Pharma evaluate the properties of drug candidates. These include enzymatic assays, kinetic binding studies, steady state kinetics and cellular assays. Kathrin is also optimizing conditions to determine x-ray crystal structures of inhibitor-enzyme complexes. This identifies the specific interactions of Arctic Pharma’s drugs on their target enzymes and will be used to design and improve drug candidates.
The Hive offers us a great variability of programs, which are very useful in the cancer drug-development process. For me, ScienceDirect® and Embase® are important in my day-to-day activities as they offer a collection of the most relevant current literature in biochemistry and drug development. PharmaPendium™ is another useful program for our drug design studies, we use it to research current cancer therapies, their pharmacokinetics, safety information, and their targets. In my cell studies, Reaxys® Medicinal Chemistry, is helpful in searching for drug molecules that are similar and their effects on a target group or in specific cell lines that might be of interest to us.
Anja R. Oldenburg
Senior Scientist in Cellular Biology
Anja plays an important role in the preclinical stages of drug development at Arctic Pharma. She works on identifying and evaluating Arctic Pharma’s current and new potential drug targets. She is also leading the design and development of critical cellular assays used to evaluate drug candidates’ effects on cancers cells and their ability to proliferate and metastasize.
Being a part of the Hive project will give me access to many of the Elsevier programs i.e. Pathway Studio® and Reaxys® Medicinal Chemistry. Combined these programs will help me get a better understanding of targets in the context of cellular and tissue networks. This will help me design better drugs by optimizing their affinity and selectivity. The PharmaPendium™ program is an indispensable tool for me as we begin toxicology studies on our drug candidates and need to optimize their pharmacokinetics profiles. Other programs that are essential to my experiments are Science Direct and Embase, together these programs help me stay up to date in breast cancer and drug development fields.
Scientist in Medicinal Chemistry
Elahe is a part of Arctic Pharma's medicinal chemistry team. She, together with Bora, work on designing, synthesizing and analyzing new drug compounds that are made in house.
The Hive program gives me access to Elsevier suite of programs which are essential in the drug discovery process. This helps me to retrieve relevant literature, precise compound properties and chemical reaction data twice as fast as any other solution. The expertly curated databases and tools to support in silico profiling, such as Reaxys®, enables me to discover chemical structures, properties and reactions. This helps me in my day-to-day experiments to find the most relevant chemistry literature and patents with ease, assess compound synthesis and purchasing options.
The Hive: Supporting Arctic Pharma’s efforts to move their R&D projects forward
Elsevier’s products Reaxys, Embase, PharmaPendium, Pathway Studio, ScienceDirect and Text Mining provide rapid access to facts about chemical data such as reaction schemes, proteins (enzymes) and patent information on compounds, all of which are very important to move our R&D projects forward. These products contain extensive and detailed information on chemical compounds/structures, visualization of disease mechanisms, metabolomics data, prediction of drug-drug interactions etc., all of which are important to further develop our cancer therapies. Being a part of the Hive project will allow exposure to our company and the team’s work. It will also allow hands on training to programs that will help us make better informed decisions on lead compound selections and increase our productivity by reducing our efforts spent on finding everything that is relevant and trustworthy for our research. Claudia A. McDonald Bøen, Ph.D., CEO
Blog: Pharma R&D Today
Posted on March 31st, 2017 by Claudia A. McDonald Bøen, Ph.D. in Pharma R&D
Just as some members of our team are going off on parental leave to grow their families, our Arctic Pharma research family is also getting bigger. We have recently expanded the Arctic team by bringing on board three very talented scientists. Continue reading
The Arctic Pharma Family Is Growing »
Videos and media
Learn more about Elsevier's R&D solutions for drug discovery
and development utilized by Arctic Pharma:
Improve R&D productivity with a chemistry research solution that delivers experimental facts on chemical structures, properties, reactions and procedures.
Learn more about Reaxys
Reaxys Medicinal Chemistry
Empower hit identification and lead optimization with normalized compound–target affinity data and comprehensive pharmacokinetic, efficacy, toxicity, safety and metabolic profiles.
Learn more about Reaxys Medicinal Chemistry
Increase the discovery of biomedical evidence to support critical life sciences functions, with access to the world's most comprehensive biomedical literature database.
Learn more about Embase
Enable better informed preclinical drug safety decisions with comprehensive, fully searchable FDA/EMA drug approval documents and comparative extracted drug safety data.
Learn more PharmaPendium
Enable researchers to more effectively and efficiently search authoritative, full-text scientific, technical and health content through the use of smart, intuitive functionality.
Learn more about ScienceDirect
Enable better understanding of biological processes underlying disease progression and treatment response, with a solution that helps researchers interpret experimental data from scientific literature.
Learn more about Pathway Studio
Help researchers discover trends, partners and experts with the world’s largest abstract & citation database of peer-reviewed literature, including tools to track, analyze and visualize research.
Learn more about Scopus