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Columbia University and University of Nebraska License Targeted Anti-Cancer Therapy to Stockbridge Pharmaceuticals

2/20/2009 9:58:04 AM

Columbia University’s Science & Technology Ventures announced that it has signed a license agreement with Stockbridge Pharmaceuticals, Inc. to commercialize a novel small molecule-based approach, developed in collaboration with the University of Nebraska, for the targeted treatment of various cancers.

Stockbridge Pharmaceuticals will explore the use of small molecules that inhibit a particular protein receptor. The receptor is involved in a cell signaling pathway that has been show to play a major role in inhibiting programmed cell death, including the death of abnormal, cancerous cells. The intact function of this pathway is a precondition for malignancy.

Initial studies of the therapy in a mouse model of basal-like breast cancer tumors have demonstrated significant shrinkage of tumor mass. These cancers generally have a poor prognosis, and therapeutic options are limited. Human trials of a lead drug may begin in as few as eighteen months.

“I was very impressed by the science,” said Jack Brimberg, Chairman of New York City-based Stockbridge Pharmaceuticals, Inc. “The uniqueness of this approach is very promising for addressing cancers that have not been addressed by other targeted approaches.”

The licensed technology is the result of a collaboration between the laboratories of Dr. Argiris Efstratiadis, Professor of Genetics & Development at Columbia University, and Dr. David Berkowitz, Professor of Chemistry at the University of Nebraska. Based on the complementary expertise of the two scientists and their colleagues, Science & Technology Ventures (STV), the technology transfer office at Columbia University, helped negotiate a partnership agreement between the two universities and facilitated the formation of Stockbridge Pharmaceuticals to further develop the therapy.

“There’s a lot of excitement about the potential of this drug technology for several difficult-to-treat cancers,” said Jerry Kokoshka, the licensing officer at STV who crafted the deals between the parties. We look forward to advancing its ongoing development.”

“We believe that the expertise of the Nebraska and Columbia teams is nicely complementary, and stand behind this new venture,” added David Conrad, who represents Technology Development at the University of Nebraska.

About Columbia University Science & Technology Ventures

Columbia University's technology transfer office, Science & Technology Ventures (STV), serves as a bridge between Columbia's researchers and the business community. STV's core objective is to facilitate the transfer of inventions from academic research to outside organizations for the benefit of society on a local, national and global basis. As such, STV’s primary mission is to identify, evaluate, protect, and license or spin-out Columbia’s intellectual property. STV at Columbia University is considered one of the leading technology transfer offices in the world, with more than 300 invention disclosures from faculty, 70 license deals and 12 new start-ups each year, as well as approximately 35 multi-disciplinary, full-time staff across Columbia's two campuses. For more information on STV, please visit

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