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Repare Therapeutics is a flourishing biotech that uses innovative technology to develop customized oncology treatments. Following a successful IPO in 2020 (in French only), the company launched its first clinical trials on promising molecules.

Well Established in Quebec

Repare Therapeutics was founded in 2016 by three experienced researchers who specialize in cellular biology: Dr. Agnel Sfeir, Assistant Professor at NYU Langone Health’s Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, and Drs. Frank Sicheri and Daniel Durocher, both investigators at Sinai Health ­⎜Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. A native of Varennes, Quebec and a McGill University graduate, Dr. Durocher was named one of Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 (in French only).

The company’s three founders have received an impressive number of awards of excellence for their work (read more). Its president, Lloyd Segal, is a seasoned entrepreneur who was at the helm of several emerging biotechs, including Advanced Bioconcept, Caprion Pharmaceuticals (now Caprion Biosciences) – which he co-founded – and Thallion Pharmaceuticals.

Repare Therapeutics has 104 employees at its two facilities in Montréal and Boston. Its executives are adamant about its head office remaining in Montréal because the company received support from a number of Quebec investors in its early days. The strong concentration of high-calibre scientists in the area is also a tremendous benefit.

An Innovative Platform

Repare Therapeutics’ work stands out in several ways. Its team excels in precision oncology and aims to discover customized therapies to cure tumours with specific mutations. Finding the right treatment for the right patient significantly increases the chances of success and accelerates recovery.

The company uses state-of-the-art technology, CRISPR gene editing (sometimes referred to as molecular scissors), to identify new therapeutic targets. This editing allowed for the creation of a bank of cells with mutations that are the basis of different cancers. The Repare Therapeutics team used this tool to perform laboratory testing on a wide range of compounds to find those most effective at destroying cancer cells carrying the targeted mutations.

The Repare Therapeutics approach has several advantages:

  • By targeting cancers with specific genetic mutations, therapeutic agents are less harmful to healthy cells and cause fewer side effects
  • This strategy helps combat hard-to-treat tumours, such as those produced by loss-of-function mutations
  • The same molecule can treat different types of cancer as long as the cells carry the target mutation

A Promising Portfolio

The work done by Repare Therapeutics has identified several potential molecules for further study. Two phase 1/2 clinical trials were launched this year:

  • A first patient in a phase 1 trial received RP-6306, a selective, orally available inhibitor of PKMYT1. A proof-of-concept study is expected to be published in 2022 (read more).
  • Ten sites were activated for the phase 1/2 study of RP-3500, an ATR inhibitor. Results are expected within the year (read more).