Participant Profile: Arctic Pharma AS - The Hive

Participant profile: Arctic Pharma AS

Developing innovative anti-cancer drugs
by exploiting the "sweet tooth" of cancer cells

Participant Profile: Arctic Pharma AS logo - The Hive

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.

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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, Ph.D. CEO - The Hive | Elsevier

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.

Steffi Lundvall, Ph. D.
  Project Leader in Biochemistry - The Hive | Elsevier

Steffi Lundvall
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.

Bora Sieng, Ph.D.
  Project Leader in Medicinal Chemistry - The Hive | Elsevier

Bora Sieng
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.

Roman Volchenkov, M.D., Ph. D.
  Project Leader in Cellular Biology - The Hive | Elsevier

Roman Volchenkov
M.D., Ph. D.
Project Leader in Cellular Biology

Roman is responsible for designing and conducting experiments in cell-based assays for drug candidates – testing their effects on cell growth, cell death, DNA fragmentation among other applications.

The Hive will keep me updated on methods available for evaluation of cellular effects of drug candidates and ensure that Arctic Pharma’s work and protocols are in line with current standards of drug development and testing.

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

The Arctic Pharma family is growing

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 »

Read more blog posts about Arctic Pharma

Videos and media

Learn more about Steffi Lundvall, Ph.D., Arctic's Project Leader in Biochemistry

Learn more about Roman Volchenkov, M.D., Ph. D., Arctic's Project Leader in Cellular Biology

Learn more about Bora Sieng Ph.D., Arctic's Project Leader in Medicinal Chemistry

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

Pathway Studio

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