ST. LOUIS, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Kereos, a biotechnology company developing targeted therapeutics and imaging agents for the detection and treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease, has extended its research partnership with Washington University in St. Louis to continue ongoing development of unique therapeutics that specifically target unstable plaque. The development project is being funded under a new $7.3 million Biomedical Research Partnership grant awarded to Washington University School of Medicine from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
"Unstable plaque lining the walls of coronary arteries is the most dangerous form of the artherosclerotic plaques that underlie heart attacks. When they break off, these plaques are one of the most common causes of heart attack and are to blame for most deaths associated with cardiovascular disease," said principal investigator Samuel A. Wickline, M.D., professor of medicine and of biomedical engineering at the Washington University School of Medicine and a heart specialist at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. "The products being developed from our research will allow us to readily differentiate between the various types of plaques in patients and enable us to treat each patient and plaque more appropriately."
Wickline and co-investigator Gregory M. Lanza, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of medicine and biomedical engineering, are founders of Kereos.
"Even though the dangers of unstable plaque have been known for some time, it has traditionally been indistinguishable from stable plaque, and there was no way to specifically target it. Working in conjunction with Drs. Wickline and Lanza at Washington University, Kereos has developed the first ligand-targeted product that is designed to locate these plaques at a very early stage," said Robert "Al" Beardsley, Ph.D., CEO of Kereos. "The additional NIH funding for our partnership will support the ongoing development of this product, as well as development of a therapeutic designed to treat unstable plaque by depositing a powerful drug payload directly in the plaque."
Kereos is currently co-developing its product for the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) detection of unstable plaque with Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging. The company is also developing targeted products using similar technology to better detect and treat malignant tumors, and expects to evaluate its first product for cancer in humans in a Phase I clinical trial next year.
Kereos develops products designed to provide more effective detection and treatment of cancer and cardiovascular disease, the first of which is expected to enter clinical trials in 2005. In addition to advancing its pipeline of therapeutic and imaging candidates independently, Kereos is committed to partnering with leading pharmaceutical and imaging companies. To date, it has formed collaborations with Bristol-Myers Squibb Medical Imaging for the development and commercialization of cardiovascular disease magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) agents, with Dow Chemical for the development of novel metal chelates for molecular imaging, and with Philips Medical Systems for the development of molecular imaging systems. For more information, visit Kereos' website at http://www.kereos.com/.
CONTACT: Virginia Amann, +1-608-274-6046, firstname.lastname@example.org, or AmyBeltran, +1-858-527-3489, email@example.com, both of Atkins + Associates, forKereos