Sartar’s first precision medicine product to treat these tumors, SAR001, specifically targets the PDE3A protein, which is frequently expressed in GIST and other soft-tissue tumors.
“With treating GIST, we’ve already had great success and are looking to build on that,” she says. According to a market study commissioned by Sartar, a proven medicine for GIST alone could achieve sales of €550 million in the EU and US markets.
Harri Sihto, Chairman of the Board of Sartar Therapeutics, says that the work of the company is rooted on the research done by Heikki Joensuu and his team in 2013. The idea seemed so promising that the company was launched in 2016, also for the purpose of seeking a patent for the innovation.
“SAR001 worked in animal testing and we were confident that it would work with human patients too,” he explains. After getting the word out on the discovery, other people became interested too – and, finally, in autumn 2020, Sartar corralled €2.3 million in seed money in just six days.
With the immediate funding needs being taken care of, Katja Ivanitskiy and Harri Sihto have a clear plan for the future:
“We’re looking for suitable partners to conduct additional research,” Ivanitskiy says, adding that once the company has completed Phases I and II within a few years, also bigger players of the medical industry might take an interest on the development.
In 2020, Sartar corralled €2.3 million in seed money in just six days.