SolaranRx Marks Melanoma Monday With A $100,000 Investment From STC.UNM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., May 4, 2015 - - SolaranRx CEO and Co-Founder Les Stewart believes it is fitting that the STC.UNM (STC) Co-Investment Fund’s $100,000 investment in the Albuquerque-based startup company coincides with national Melanoma Monday, a day aimed at raising awareness of the most deadly form of skin cancer.

“There is no cure for metastatic melanoma. A majority of patients show little or no response to current therapies and side effects can be so severe that treatment must be stopped,” Stewart explained. “It’s exciting that a new treatment option for this deadly disease is being developed in New Mexico using UNM technology. It’s equally exciting that the STC Co-Investment Fund is making a financial commitment to help SolaranRx bring a potentially transformative new treatment for metastatic melanoma to patients.”

The STC Co-Investment Fund was established with the UNM Foundation in April 2014 when UNM Regents voted unanimously to create the $1 million fund to co-invest with local angel groups and venture capital funds in UNM startup companies using technology developed at UNM. The Fund is administered by STC.UNM, the university’s technology transfer and economic development office. STC’s Co-investment Committee reviews requests for funding based on extensive criteria for business success and can invest up to $100,000. The SolaranRx investment is the sixth deal made since the Fund was established.

Stewart and SolaranRx co-founder Stuart Rose acquired exclusive rights to the UNM technology in June 2014. The company’s lead product, SRX-1177, is a novel peptide linked to a radioisotope that specifically attaches to melanocortin-1 (MC1) receptors, which are over-expressed in about 80 percent of melanoma cells. SRX-1177 can identify melanoma patients with MC1 receptors with a standard imaging procedure. Those patients are then be injected with therapeutic doses of SRX-1177 to deliver targeted radiation to kill melanoma cells, while minimizing the impact on healthy tissue.

SolaranRx’s technology merges of therapy and diagnostics into a precision theranostic platform for metastatic melanoma. STC.UNM CEO Lisa Kuuttila said the investment in SolaranRx reflects the intent of the UNM Regents when it established the Co-Investment Fund to help grow promising New Mexico technologies into thriving New Mexico companies. “Having the Fund allows STC to provide much needed seed capital to sustain promising startup companies like SolaranRx that could grow into larger, job-creating companies for New Mexico.”

STC is not the only one to recognize the potential of SolaranRx’s lead product. Informa and Kantar Health named SRX-1177, among the 2014 Top 10 Most Interesting Oncology Projects to Watch for its strong science and potential to address unmet medical needs in treating metastatic melanoma. The FDA recently granted Orphan Drug Status to SolaranRx’s lead product, SRX-1177.

According to STC, there are currently 53 active start-up companies based on UNM technology with 40 located in Albuquerque. In 2013, STC.UNM spun out nine start-up companies; in 2014, there were also nine. Thus far in 2015, there are six active startups, with five in Albuquerque. “We are very grateful for STC’s investment,” Stewart said. “Our goal is to offer physicians a new therapeutic option and more hope to patients with this deadly disease.”

About SolaranRx, Inc.

SolaranRx, Inc. is developing a new class of precision medicine: therapies and companion imaging agents for the treatment of metastatic melanoma. This merger between therapeutics and diagnostics—often referred to as theranostics—constitutes a new level of precision medicine for treating metastatic melanoma. SolaranRx seeks to improve treatment and patients’ quality of life, giving new options to clinicians and hope to patients. Visit www.SolaranRx.com.

Contact: Melanie Lux, Lux Strategic Communications, 803.331.4794 or mlux@luxandassociates.com

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