NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., March 28, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Actinobac Biomed Inc, originally funded with an investment from Foundation Venture Capital Group, Inc., has received a $202,000 Small Business Technology Transfer Grant (STTR) from the National Institutes of Health* to study its drug candidate, Leukothera®, as a potential treatment for B-cell lymphomas.
The STTR program seeks to increase participation of small businesses in Federal R&D programs and to increase private sector commercialization of early stage technologies. The unique feature of the STTR program is the opportunity for small business concern applicants to formally collaborate with research institutions. This project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Joseph Bertino, chief scientific officer at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, NJ.
According to Actinobac founder Dr. Scott Kachlany, the grant will allow them to perform research which will include animal studies to examine the effect of Leukothera® in mouse models for B-cell lymphomas.
"Based upon the fact that preclinical efficacy studies have shown that Leukothera® is highly effective at eliminating leukemia cells in animals under laboratory conditions, we are hopeful that we'll continue to see efficacy for lymphomas," he said.
Leukothera® is a natural biologic agent that specifically targets and depletes disease related white blood cells. In studies to date, malignant and proinflammatory white blood cells have been determined to be significantly more sensitive to Leukothera® than normal white blood cells.
Foundation Venture Capital Group invested $500,000 in 2009 when Actinobac was first established to develop pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of hematologic malignancies (leukemias & lymphomas), autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, type 1 diabetes, lupus, and psoriasis), and HIV infection. It recently made an additional $100,000 investment to further studies in the treatment of white blood cell diseases in dogs which can be used to design cancer treatments for companion animals and support the continued development of Actinobac's drug candidate for human health care purposes.
Actinobac has exclusive rights to the therapeutic use of Leukothera® through a license from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.
*Research described in this article is supported by the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health under Award Number R41CA173900. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Foundation Venture Capital Group
Foundation Venture Capital Group, an affiliate of New Jersey Health Foundation, invests in commercially viable new start-up companies developing technology by faculty at or affiliated with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. In addition to Actinobac, FVCG portfolio companies currently include:
- Affineti Biologics, Inc., advancing research in the development of therapeutic and diagnostic products based on new discoveries in oral biology and dental medicine;
- CellXplore, Inc., engaged in the development of biomarker-based in vitro diagnostic assays for cancer;
- Celvive, Inc., working to develop technology to treat patients with chronic spinal cord injuries with their own adult stem cells;
- Durin Technologies, working to develop a blood test to diagnose Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and other neurodegenerative diseases;
- GeneAssess, Inc., a company developing a diagnostic tool for more accurate breast cancer staging;
- Longevica Pharmaceuticals, Inc., developing a chemoprotective agent that may keep normal cells healthy during cancer treatments (FVCG's equity interest in Longevica was sold to Rostock International, LTD, a subsidiary of a Moscow (Russia) based global investment firm);
- MentiNova, Inc., working to reduce side effects of L-Dopa Induced Dyskinesia
- Snowdon Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a drug discovery company focused on several major therapeutic areas.
SOURCE New Jersey Health Foundation