Aclaris Therapeutics Announces the Publication of Zunsemetinib Preclinical Research in Pancreatic Cancer in Scientific Translational Medicine

WAYNE, Pa., December 03, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: ACRS), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development of new drug candidates for immune-inflammatory diseases, announced today the preclinical research publication of zunsemetinib in pancreatic cancer in the peer-reviewed journal Science Translational Medicine, December 1, 2021.

The article, titled “The MK2 / Hsp27 axis is a major survival mechanism for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma under genotoxic stress”, presents the results of a preclinical study using cell lines derived from patients and a mouse model of Autochthonous pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma which evaluated the role of MK2, as well as the impact of zunsemetinib (ATI-450), Aclaris’ experimental oral MK2 inhibitor, in pancreatic cancer. This study was a multi-year collaboration between Aclaris and the Washington University School of Medicine, led by the lab of Dr. Kian-Huat Lim, MD, PhD, associate professor of oncology and Dr. Patrick Grierson, MD, PhD, assistant professor of Oncology.

In the study, Dr Lim and his team identified the MK2 / HSP27 axis as an important resistance mechanism leading to survival of pancreatic tumor cells after exposure to the chemotherapy components FOLFIRINOX – the current gold standard treatment for cancer of the breast. pancreas. His team also demonstrated that DNA damage induced by the components of FOLFIRINOX chemotherapy increased tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa) in pancreatic cancer cells, which had the dual effect of impacting cell death and cell survival, and that selective inhibition of MK2 downstream of TNFα signaling abrogated survival by blocking activation of HSP27 and beclin1-mediated autophagy, which allowed TNFα to execute its pro- mechanism. dead. With this understanding, his team then showed that mouse survival in an indigenous KPPC model of pancreatic cancer was statistically significantly prolonged (p

“This study introduces a new, targeted MK2 approach to the treatment of pancreatic cancer,” said Dr. Lim. “We are very excited about the potential of this combination therapy and believe that it should be advanced in clinical trials to determine whether inhibition of MK2 may enhance the effect of FOLFIRINOX base chemotherapy in patients with a pancreatic cancer without causing additional side effects. “

Based on these results and the clinical data generated by Aclaris’ clinical development program with zunsemetinib, Aclaris envisions a future clinical program for the treatment of patients with pancreatic cancer using one of the other candidates. Aclaris MK2 inhibitor drugs.

The authors of the article are Patrick M. Grierson, Paarth B. Dodhiawala, Yi Cheng, Timothy Hung-Po Chen, Iftikhar Ali Khawar, Qing Wei, Daoxiang Zhang, Lin Li, John Herndon, Joseph B. Monahan, Marianna B. Ruzinova, and Kian-Huat Lim, and the article can be accessed here:

About Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc.

Aclaris Therapeutics, Inc. is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing a pipeline of novel drug candidates to meet the needs of patients with immune-inflammatory diseases who do not have satisfactory treatment options. The company has a portfolio of multi-step drug candidates powered by a robust R&D engine exploring the regulation of protein kinases. For more information, please visit

Caution regarding forward-looking statements

Any statements in this press release that do not describe historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such statements may be identified by words such as “believe “,” Expect, “” have the intention “,” can “,” plan “,” the potential “,” the will “and similar expressions, and are based on current beliefs and expectations of Aclaris . These forward-looking statements include expectations regarding the clinical development of Aclaris’ drug candidates. These statements involve risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results to differ materially from those reflected in such statements. Risks and uncertainties that can cause actual results to differ materially include the uncertainties inherent in the conduct of clinical trials, Aclaris’ dependence on third parties over which it does not always have full control, and the ability to Aclaris to enter into research collaborations on commercially reasonable terms, uncertainty regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and other risks and uncertainties described in the Risk Factors section of the Aclaris Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2020 and other documents filed by Aclaris with the US Securities and Exchange Commission from time to time. These documents are available on the “SEC Filings” page of the “Investors” section of the Aclaris website at All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release and are based on information available to Aclaris as of the date of this press release, and Aclaris assumes no obligation and does not intend to make any up-to-date forward-looking statements. whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

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