Tackling Cancer: Kairos Therapeutics

Kairos Therapeutics is a biopharmaceutical company that was spun out of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), an organization which helps develop commercially viable investment opportunities out of life sciences research. Kairos Therapeutics focuses on antibody-drug conjugates (ADC), a rapidly-growing segment of cancer treatment that provides increased benefits to cancer patients.

“The ADCs target cancer cells while sparing healthy ones.”

ADCs are agents comprised of antibodies that are armed with potent, cell-killing drugs. The ADCs target cancer cells while sparing healthy ones. The antibody part of the agent can be thought of as having a cancercell homing capability and the drug as having a lethal payload that is released once the targeted cell has been reached. Kairos Therapeutics has licensed patents that are owned by CDRD, established partnerships with Canadian researchers and private partners, and is developing a number of ADC therapeutics.

“It’s an exciting time to be in cancer drug development because of the efficacy that’s been observed with ADCs recently. There’s a lot of excitement among oncologists and clinicians to develop ADCs,” says John Babcook, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Kairos Therapeutics.

In a recent development involving partners including the University of British Columbia and BC Cancer Agency, it was discovered that a mosquito-borne parasite included a protein, called VAR2CSA, that binds with a molecule found in a high number of cancer cell types. The results of tests that include this protein combined with novel toxins have been extremely promising, with positive results across a large number of cancer types. A compound designed for clinical trials in humans is now being prepared.

“We have a very robust platform for personalized cancer treatments. We believe it’s a top-tier platform that’s competitive globally,” Babcook says. “We’re trying to get to a place where we can, hopefully, cure patients.”