New Orleans, LA – The National Cancer Institute has awarded WayPath Pharma, a spin-out company based on LSU Health New Orleans research, a $225,000 Phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award. Included in the award is a $127,024 subcontract to LSU Health New Orleans. The funding will advance the development of a new class of anticancer drugs for glioblastoma, an aggressive brain cancer for which there are currently only limited treatment options.
“The low ability of the common anticancer drugs to cross the blood-brain barrier and the existence of self-renewing populations of glioma initiating cells (GICs), which resemble tumor stem-like cells, are considered the main reasons for the therapeutic failure,” notes principal investigator Krzysztof Reiss, PhD, Professor of Interdisciplinary Oncology at LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine. “Our new metabolic drugs have the ability to target tumor stem cells and have been specifically designed to cross the blood-brain barrier.”
Glioblastoma multiforme accounts for nearly half of malignant brain tumors. The median overall survival is only about 15 months.
“The main objective of this research is to develop, test and select the most effective metabolic drug candidate, which will initially be used in dogs with cancer whose owners are seeking treatment,” adds Dr. Reiss. “The safety and efficacy data will ultimately help us prepare for a human glioblastoma clinical trial.”
Dr. Reiss co-founded WayPath Pharma, located in the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, in 2019.
According to the Small Business Association, the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) is a program that expands funding opportunities in the federal innovation research and development arena. Central to the program is expansion of the public/private sector partnership to include the joint venture opportunities for small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The unique feature of the STTR program is the requirement for the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR's most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.
“WayPath Pharma’s STTR award offers further proof that New Orleans’ biosciences ecosystem is growing and that startup companies can successfully take root here,” says Patrick Reed, LSU Health New Orleans Assistant Vice Chancellor for Innovation and Partnerships. “LSU Health embraces faculty entrepreneurship and has been bolstering policies and procedures to foster and promote this activity and help keep these companies in Louisiana.”
LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans educates Louisiana's health care professionals. The state's flagship health sciences university, LSU Health New Orleans includes a School of Medicine with campuses in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, the state's only School of Dentistry, Louisiana's only public School of Public Health, and Schools of Allied Health Professions, Nursing, and Graduate Studies. LSU Health New Orleans faculty take care of patients in public and private hospitals and clinics throughout the region. In the vanguard of biosciences research in a number of areas in a worldwide arena, the LSU Health New Orleans research enterprise generates jobs and enormous economic impact. LSU Health New Orleans faculty have made lifesaving discoveries and continue to work to prevent, advance treatment, or cure disease. To learn more, visit http://www.lsuhsc.edu, http://www.twitter.com/LSUHealthNO, or http://www.facebook.com/LSUHSC.
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