Sapience Therapeutics Awarded SBIR Grant from National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for ST316, its β-catenin antagonist peptide (BCAP) Program

HARRISON, N.Y., Oct. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Sapience Therapeutics, Inc., a biotechnology company focused on the discovery and development of peptide therapeutics to address difficult to treat oncology indications, announced today that it was awarded a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) grant from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to establish proof-of-concept for the use of its second clinical candidate, ST316, to treat Wnt/β-catenin-dependent breast cancer.

“The Wnt pathway has remained out of reach for traditional pharmaceutical approaches, and novel modalities like ST316 are urgently needed to provide new therapeutic options for cancer patients,” said Jim Rotolo, Ph.D., VP, Translational Pharmacology and Head of Research of Sapience Therapeutics. “This grant from the NCI/NIH allows us to further characterize the in vitro activity and in vivo safety and activity of ST316, which will enable us to accelerate the advancement of this program toward the clinic.”

Sapience CEO and President, Dr. Barry Kappel added, “With our ST316 program, we are addressing one of the most desired undruggable targets in cancer. ST316 was designed to disrupt the pathologic aspects of Wnt/β-catenin while leaving the physiologic activities of this important pathway intact, and we appreciate the NCI/NIH support of additional preclinical work to allow us to explore its full potential.” 

This grant was supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R43CA265503. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

About ST316

β-catenin is a critical member of the canonical Wnt signaling pathway, a well-known development stage pathway that has been considered an “undruggable” cancer target, as small molecules have proven ineffective or toxic. Wnt/β-catenin signaling drives cancer initiation and contributes to tumor growth, angiogenesis and metastasis. ST316 exerts its activity through disruption of the BCL9/β-Catenin interaction to suppress transcription of Wnt target genes regulating proliferation, migration, invasion, and the metastatic potential of tumor cells. Sapience anticipates advancing ST316 into IND-enabling studies in 2021 and initiating clinical studies in late 2022.

About Sapience Therapeutics

Sapience Therapeutics, Inc., is a privately held, clinical stage biotechnology company focused on discovering and developing peptide-based therapeutics for major unmet medical needs, particularly high mortality cancers. With platform-based discovery of peptide therapeutics that disrupt protein-protein interactions, Sapience’s molecules hold potential to target intracellular interactions that are traditionally considered “undruggable targets”. Its lead compound, ST101, is a first-in-class molecule with potential applications in various solid tumors and hematologic malignancies. For more information on Sapience Therapeutics, please visit

Cautionary Note on Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements. Any statements herein other than statements of historical fact could be deemed to be forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements may include, among other things, statements regarding future events that involve significant risks and uncertainties (including with respect to Sapience’s preclinical and clinical development programs). These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations, and actual results and future events may differ materially as a result of certain factors, including, without limitation, risks related to the application of the net proceeds from the offering to Sapience’s product development objectives, our ability to obtain additional funds, and meet applicable regulatory standards and receive required regulatory approvals. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. Sapience does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events, changed assumptions or otherwise, except as required by law.


Sapience Therapeutics, Inc.:
Barry Kappel, Ph.D., M.B.A.
President and Chief Executive Officer

Media and Investor Contact:
Amy Conrad
Juniper Point
(858) 366-3243

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SOURCE Sapience Therapeutics, Inc.

Released October 12, 2021