Laura Soucek graduated in Biological Sciences at the University La Sapienza, Rome (Italy) in 1996. She was then awarded her PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology in 2001. She was a postdoctoral fellow and Assistant Researcher in Dr. Gerard Evan’s laboratory at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF, USA) until 2011. Since then, she has been leading the Models of Cancer Therapies Laboratory at the Vall d’Hebron Institute of Oncology (VHIO), in Barcelona, Spain, where she became Director of the Preclinical and Translational Research Program in 2022. She is also ICREA Research Professor and Associate Professor at the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona (UAB). She is a cancer research expert specialized in Myc inhibition strategies, as well as founder and CEO of Peptomyc S.L., a spin off company that aims at treating cancer with anti-Myc peptides.
Our focus is the Myc oncoprotein, whose deregulation is implicated in almost all human cancer types. We have designed a Myc dominant negative, Omomyc, to investigate the therapeutic benefit of inhibiting Myc in cancer. We demonstrated that Myc inhibition has a remarkable therapeutic index in many mouse models of cancer, while only causing mild and reversible side effects in normal tissues. We also showed that Myc is a safe pharmacological target for many, perhaps all, cancers. Our goal is now to push such a therapeutic approach further towards the clinic. To do so we are making use of a new generation of Myc inhibitory cell-penetrating miniproteins. Our first compound, OMO-103, successfully completed Phase I clinical trial in 2022. These innovative treatments could boost our therapeutic arsenal against the majority of human cancers.