A startup developing new cancer treatments recently signed its second tech transfer deal with the University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Three-year-old Educational & Scientific, LLC (ESL) licensed technology designed to inhibit growth of prostate cancer with a specific form of the disease, according to UM Ventures. The molecule was developed as a therapeutic agent by University of Maryland School of Medicine professors Vincent C.O. Njar and Angela Brodie.
E. Albert Reece, dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine Dean, said the collaboration is “a great example of how we can combine basic science with new potential therapies to treat cancer.”
“We are pleased to broaden our oncology portfolio with this exciting molecule and are even more pleased to be advancing a treatment that could help prostate cancer patients who presently have limited therapeutic options,” ESL Founder Henry Lowe said in a statement.
Baltimore-based ESL is working to examine medicinal plants in Jamaica for potential therapeutic purposes. It’s an area in which Lowe has made significant contributions that resulted in new businesses. The startup signed an initial licensing agreement with the university to develop a cancer treatment derived from the Jamaican plant Ball Moss that was co-invented by Lowe, company CEO Ngeh J. Toyang and former School of Medicine Professor Joseph Bryant.
The recent deal for the molecule provides a second, yet separate, technology that the company will develop simultaneously, and one that is moving toward an advanced stage of development. Known as Galeterone, the molecule was already successful in Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials in patients, and the team is planning Phase 3 trials later in 2019. The third phase often involve numerous patients across multiple sites, and is the final phase before regulatory approval.
Given Lowe’s experience and the stage of development, adding the second technology “helps them from a strategic perspective a lot,” said UMB Chief Commercialization Officer Phil Robilotto.