A $250 million drug discovery initiative launched last year at University Hospitals of Cleveland has produced its second startup, this one based on cancer research from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.
Dual Therapeutics will develop new treatments for prostate cancer, lung cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia, according to an announcement today from BioMotiv.
BioMotiv is the for-profit commercialization arm of The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, which provides grants and other resources to physician-scientists with the goal of advancing promising scientific research into commercial products that address unmet clinical needs. One of Dual Therapeutics’ co-founders, Dr. Goutham Narla, was selected last year as the Harrington Project’s inaugural Harringon Distinguished Scholar.
Narla, now an assistant professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, and Michael Ohlmeyer, an associate professor of structural and chemical biology at Mount Sinai, led an interdisciplinary research team at Mount Sinai that discovered a way to turn on a process that causes certain tumor cells to die.
The team found that two tumor suppressor genes, KLF6 and FOXO1, are turned off as cancer spreads throughout the body. Their approach uses small molecules to modulate those two key tumor suppressors, lending itself nicely to the name Dual Therapeutics. BioMotiv says the researchers have demonstrated in vivo antitumor activity in multiple cancer models.
Some of the team’s work was funded by a $250,000 BioAccelerate NYC Prize from the Partnership for New York City Fund last year. BioMotiv executives also disclosed in a SEC filing this summer that the newly formed company hadopened a $2.5 million round of funding.
BioMotiv licenses technologies and uses its executive team to manage and advance research programs to clinical proof-of-concept, at which point it can out-license the technology or partner with pharmaceutical companies or VC firms. Last month, it announced its first spin-off, Orca Pharmaceuticals, to commercialize inflammatory disease therapeutics developed at New York University.
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