Actinobac Biomed Inc, originally funded with an investment from Foundation Venture Capital Group, Inc., has received a $202,000 Small Business Technology Transfer Grant (STTR) from the National Institutes of Health to study its drug candidate, Leukothera, as a potential treatment for B-cell lymphomas.
The STTR program seeks to increase participation of small businesses in Federal R&D programs and to increase private sector commercialization of early stage technologies. The unique feature of the STTR program is the opportunity for small business concern applicants to formally collaborate with research institutions. This project is being conducted in collaboration with Dr. Joseph Bertino, chief scientific officer at the Cancer Institute of New Jersey in New Brunswick, NJ.
According to Actinobac founder Dr. Scott Kachlany, the grant will allow them to perform research which will include animal studies to examine the effect of Leukothera in mouse models for B-cell lymphomas.
"Based upon the fact that preclinical efficacy studies have shown that Leukothera is highly effective at eliminating leukemia cells in animals under laboratory conditions, we are hopeful that we'll continue to see efficacy for lymphomas," he said.
Leukothera is a natural biologic agent that specifically targets and depletes disease related white blood cells. In studies to date, malignant and proinflammatory white blood cells have been determined to be significantly more sensitive to Leukothera than normal white blood cells.
Foundation Venture Capital Group invested $500,000 in 2009 when Actinobac was first established to develop pharmaceutical agents for the treatment of hematologic malignancies (leukemias & lymphomas), autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease, type 1 diabetes, lupus, and psoriasis), and HIV infection. It recently made an additional $100,000 investment to further studies in the treatment of white blood cell diseases in dogs which can be used to design cancer treatments for companion animals and support the continued development of Actinobac's drug candidate for human health care purposes.
Actinobac has exclusive rights to the therapeutic use of Leukothera through a license from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.