Shrewsbury, MA, October 1, 2012 – The National Cancer Institute (NCI), a division of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded SignaBlok, Inc., a Massachusetts-based emerging
biopharmaceutical company, a $221,738 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant to in vivo test
a new approach to treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).
Cancer-related inflammation promotes NSCLC progression and metastasis. SignaBlok’s innovative
approach targets a specific receptor called TREM-1 that serves as an inflammation amplifier and is
expressed on tumor-associated inflammatory cells, macrophages.
The grant, “Development of novel targeted agents in lung cancer”, combines two novel SignaBlok’s
proprietary technologies: 1) ligand-independent inhibition of cell receptors, known as the SCHOOL
technology, and 2) nanotechnology for macrophage-targeted drug delivery.
The NCI funds will support formulation development and in vivo proof-of-concept studies to evaluate the
anticancer efficacy of TREM-1-specific SCHOOL peptides in either the free or nanoparticulate form. The
most promising formulations will be selected for Investigational New Drug (IND)-enabling toxicology
studies and further clinical development. This could ultimately lead to first-in-class therapies for cancer.
“This award from the NCI/NIH reinforces the promise of our SCHOOL technology and innovative drug
delivery nanosystems,” said Alexander Sigalov, Ph.D., President, Inventor and Founder of SignaBlok.
“We have recently succeeded in the animal proof-of-concept testing of these technologies in sepsis. With
the NCI funding, we hope to establish in vivo proof of concept for NSCLC. This will set the stage for the
development of new therapies for not only NSCLC but also other inflammation-associated cancers such
as pancreatic and colon cancers, thereby leading to a higher survival rate of the patients.”
About non-small cell lung cancer: NSCLC is the most common type of lung cancer. It kills more
patients than breast, colon, and prostate cancer combined, and the 5-year survival rate is as low as 15%.
Current treatments of NSCLC all have multiple shortcomings including only a modest increase in survival
and significant toxicity to the patient. The limitations in efficacy and safety associated with available
treatments for NSCLC highlight the need for new treatments.
SignaBlok is developing a new class of therapies – SCHOOL peptides, the innovative modulatory
peptides that can be rationally designed for nearly any cell surface receptor and have broad potential to
treat and prevent a wide range of serious diseases with unmet clinical needs. SignaBlok is also
developing a nanotechnology that enables targeted delivery of SCHOOL peptides and other therapies
and/or imaging agents, aiming to improve efficacy, reduce dose, and allow image-guided therapy.
Additional information about SignaBlok is available at www.signablok.com.