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Curtana Pharmaceuticals Awarded $7.6 Million Grant From The Cancer Prevention And Research Institute Of Texas

8/21/2014 10:18:35 AM

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SAN DIEGO, CA – August 21, 2014 – Curtana Pharmaceuticals, a privately-held, preclinical stage pharmaceutical company developing the first targeted small molecule therapeutics for glioblastoma (GBM) and other brain cancers, today announced the award of a $7.6 million product development grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). The grant provides Curtana with major funding for its lead cancer therapy program, which is focused on targeting the OLIG2 transcription factor. The company is relocating its corporate headquarters to Austin, Texas in conjunction with the grant award.

“The company’s award of the CPRIT product development grant is a significant testament to our technology platform and approach to treating glioblastoma,” stated Gregory Stein, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Executive Officer, Curtana Pharmaceuticals. “The grant will enable us to move our research through the preclinical phase of development and one step closer to patients who currently have very limited treatment options.”

Current treatments have evolved little over the last two decades for GBM, which has a median survival of less than 15-months and a five-year survival rate of less than 10%. GBM is the most common and most aggressive of the malignant primary brain tumors in adults and one of a group of tumors referred to as gliomas. Incidence in the U.S. is approximately 10,000 cases per year. Conventional therapeutic approaches for GBM often include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, which target the tumor bulk, but have limited effect on the cancer stem cells (CSCs) that drive tumor growth and recurrence.

Curtana is targeting the transcription factor OLIG2, which is critical in tumorigenesis and regulates the survival and expansion of GBM. Typically, OLIG2 is not active in normal brain tissue and is not found in normal tissues outside the central nervous system. However, it is highly expressed in all diffuse gliomas and nearly 100% of glioma CSCs that are positive for the CD133 stem cell marker. The relevance for therapy derives from the finding that over-expression of OLIG2 drives turmorigenesis and promotes resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

About The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas

Beginning operations in 2009, CPRIT has to date awarded more than $1 billion in grants to Texas researchers, institutions, non-profits and private enterprises. Besides scientific research funding, CPRIT also provides funding for product development and prevention programs. Programs made possible with CPRIT funding have reached every corner of the state, brought more than 50 distinguished researchers to Texas, advanced scientific and clinical knowledge, and made life-saving education, training, prevention and early detection services accessible to more than 1.3 million Texans at risk of cancer. In 2013, CPRIT worked with the Texas Legislature and its stakeholders on restructuring measures that have strengthened agency governance and improved transparency and accountability. Learn more at

About Curtana Pharmaceuticals

Curtana Pharmaceuticals, founded in 2013, is a privately-held, preclinical-stage pharmaceutical company currently headquartered in San Diego, California. The company focuses on the development of novel, first-in-class, small molecule therapeutics targeting cancer stem cells in the central nervous system for the treatment of glioblastoma and other cancers. Curtana’s OLIG2 inhibitors will be the only adjuvant treatment for nearly all gliomas, including high-grade glioblastomas, which specifically targets the cancer stem cells and is a potent radiosensitizer. For more information, visit

Contact Information
Gregory Stein, M.D., M.B.A
Chief Executive Officer

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