Date: Sep 24, 2013 Source:
Curtana Pharmaceuticals, a new privately-held, preclinical stage biopharmaceutical company headquartered in San Diego, has finalized an exclusive worldwide license agreement with the University of California, San Diego to develop novel first-in-class, small molecule therapeutics targeting cancer stem cells for the treatment of glioblastoma (GBM) and other cancers. The original research was performed in the laboratory of Santosh Kesari, M.D., Ph.D., recognized for being in the top one percent of neuro-oncologists and neurologists in the nation by US News and World Report.
Curtana is targeting the transcription factor OLIG2, which is critical in tumorigenesis and regulates the survival and expansion of GBM. Typically, OLIG2 is not active in normal brain tissue and is not found in normal tissues outside the central nervous system. However, it is highly expressed in all diffuse gliomas and nearly 100% of glioma cancer stem cells (CSCs) that are positive for the CD133 stem cell marker. The relevance for therapy derives from the finding that over-expression of OLIG2 drives turmorigenesis and promotes resistance to chemotherapy and radiation therapy.
“Our research indicates that by leveraging OLIG2 for a more targeted adjunct therapy, physicians will be able to more effectively treat glioblastoma and delay or eliminate tumor recurrence,” stated Santosh Kesari, M.D., Ph.D., Professor, Department of Neurosciences, UC San Diego School of Medicine; and Director, Translational Neuro-oncology Laboratories at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.
GBM is the most common and most aggressive of the malignant primary brain tumors in adults and is one of a group of tumors referred to as gliomas. Incidence in the U.S. is approximately 10,000 cases per year. The conventional therapeutic approach for GBM often includes surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, which targets the tumor bulk, but has limited effect on the cancer stem cells. A significant unmet clinical need remains in the GBM market as the median survival is less than 15 months and five-year survival rate is less than 10%.
“We are extremely encouraged by the data and have assembled an experienced leadership team with a proven track record of developing brain penetrant drugs and delivering value to patients and investors,” stated Gregory Stein, M.D., M.B.A., Chief Executive Officer, Curtana
Pharmaceuticals. “In addition, we have fully operational research facilities in place and with initial funding are ready to move forward.”
About Curtana Pharmaceuticals
Curtana Pharmaceuticals, founded in 2013, is a privately held, preclinical-stage biopharmaceutical company headquartered in San Diego, California. The company focuses on the development of novel first-in-class, small molecule therapeutics targeting cancer stem cells in the central nervous system for the treatment of glioblastoma and other cancers. Curtana’s OLIG2 inhibitors will be the only adjuvant treatment for nearly all gliomas, including high-grade glioblastomas, which specifically targets the cancer stem cells and is a potent radiosensitizer. For more information, visit www.curtanapharma.com
Contact Information Gregory Stein, M.D., M.B.A
Chief Executive Officer