News and Media
Propellon Therapeutics to Accelerate WDR5 Inhibitor Development for Cancers
FACIT forms biotechnology company for OICR-discovered first-in-class epigenetic modifiers


FACIT forms biotechnology company for OICR-discovered first-in-class epigenetic modifiers

TORONTO, ON (June 23, 2016) – FACIT has announced the creation of a new Ontario biotechnology company, Propellon Therapeutics Inc. (“Propellon” or “the Company”), to manage the development and commercialization of a portfolio of first-in-class WDR5 inhibitors for the treatment of various cancers. Epigenetic targets such as WDR5 represent an exciting class of therapies, possessing the potential to contribute significantly in precision medicine for cancer patients. Substantial advances have been achieved with the series of proprietary small molecule WDR5 inhibitors discovered and developed by the Drug Discovery team at Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (“OICR”). The formation of Propellon reflects a natural translation of early-stage breakthrough cancer innovations, and enables important development activities including attracting private sector investment and industry partnerships.

The WDR5 protein is critical for the formation and epigenetic activities of MLL1-associated methylation complexes. Deregulation of the MLL1 complexes has been implicated in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Propellon’s series of novel WDR5 epigenetic modifiers target protein-protein interactions within the WDR5/MLL1 complex and thereby disrupt pro-cancer methylation activities. This unique approach may also improve clinical outcomes in patients with solid tumours and is currently under investigation by the Company and its partners.

Propellon will continue to collaborate with the OICR Drug Discovery team and build upon their significant progress in preclinical development. During an initial transitional period, FACIT will provide interim corporate management. Should candidate drugs achieve the milestone of testing in human patients, Propellon has the potential to access the robust infrastructure for high content clinical trials in Ontario.

“OICR and FACIT share a mission to translate advancements in cancer care for the benefit of both patients and the Ontario economy,” said Jeff Courtney, Chief Commercial Officer of FACIT. “With a focus on accelerating the development of these promising WDR5 inhibitor therapies, Propellon is well-positioned to attract investment and global pharma partners to Ontario, and increase the likelihood of successful translation and improved patient care.”

About FACIT                                               
FACIT is an independent business trust established by OICR to accelerate breakthrough cancer innovations into viable opportunities that benefit patients, researchers, investors and Ontario’s economy. For more information, please visit or email

About OICR

OICR is an innovative cancer research and development institute dedicated to prevention, early detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The Institute is an independent, not-for-profit corporation, supported by the Government of Ontario. OICR and its funding partners support research programs that involve more than 1,700 investigators, clinician scientists, research staff and trainees in research institutes and in universities across the Province of Ontario as well as at its headquarters. OICR has key research program efforts underway in small molecules, biologics, stem cells, imaging, genomics, informatics and bio-computing. For more information, please visit

About Propellon Therapeutics

Propellon Therapeutics is developing and commercializing novel cancer therapies targeting the WDR5 protein, essential for assembly of methyltransferase complexes and proper histone modification. The overexpression of WDR5 and resulting deregulation of epigenetic mechanisms are implicated in various cancers and correlated with poor patient survival. Established by FACIT, Propellon’s WDR5 inhibitor platform arises from discoveries, research and innovations originating from OICR. For more information, please email