U of R joins the cancer STEM cell bandwagon

 The licensed compound, called TDZD-8, is a small molecule engineered to kill leukemic stem cells.

Panther Biotechnology Announces New Drug Candidate to Selectively Kill Leukemia Stem Cells

Signs Exclusive License Agreement With the University of Rochester

CHICAGO, IL–(Marketwired – Apr 17, 2015) – Panther Biotechnology, Inc. (OTC PINK: PBYA), a biotechnology company specializing in the development of enhanced therapeutics for the treatment of neoplastic disorders, is pleased to announce today that it has entered into an exclusive global license agreement with the University of Rochester.

Under the terms of the agreement, Panther has licensed from the University of Rochester, the rights to develop and commercialize a first in class new chemical entity with demonstrated powerful anti-leukemia activity. The licensed compound, called TDZD-8, is a small molecule engineered to kill leukemic stem cells. TDZD-8 has demonstrated broad and selective in vitro activity against many different types of leukemia. In addition, TDZD-8 has no significant toxicity in normal hematopoietic stem cells. The license is based on the pending US patent 12/374,002, pending EU patent 07810619.2, issued Australia patent 2007275686, and issued New Zealand patent 574619, all filed under “Thiadiazolidinone Derivatives.”

“Leukemia is thought to arise from malignant stem cells that are relatively resistant to current chemotherapy and likely contribute to disease relapse and progression. Therefore, the identification of drugs that can efficiently eradicate leukemia stem cells is an important priority,” stated Craig T. Jordan, PhD., the University of Rochester Medical Center leading inventor. “We believe that TDZD-8 uses a unique and previously unknown mechanism to rapidly target leukemia cells, including malignant stem and progenitor populations.”

Studies of TDZD-8 were performed to determine the effects on different types of leukemia cells taken from patients (AML, bcCML, CLL and ALL), and on normal blood cells as well. All forms of leukemia cells were strongly inhibited and induced to die by TDZD-8, however, there was minimal effect on normal blood cells. Further, TDZD-8 was submitted for screening against the NCI60 panel and found to be selectively cytotoxic to leukemia cells and cells from related diseases. The compound does not greatly impact tumors derived from non-blood tissues.

TDZD-8 is a kinase inhibitor and induces oxidative stress, causing its striking ability to induce the leukemia cells to die after less than 2 hours of exposure to the drug.

“This license agreement represents an opportunity to augment our chemotherapeutics portfolio with drugs aimed at survival extension and low toxicity with a cutting edge, cancer stem cell targeting drug,” stated Evan Levine, Chief Executive Officer of Panther. “As we continue advancing our programs, we look forward to moving TDZD-8 into the clinic to target cancer stem cells and complement our other drugs that target the bulk tumor.” Mr. Levine added, “Panther has now established a robust pipeline and is continuing its acquisition strategy with the goal of adding more advanced clinical stage products.”

“Even as targeted agents and immunotherapeutic approaches come of age, chemotherapy remains a staple of a large number of effective cancer treatment regimens — and will remain so for a long time. Improving chemotherapy by adding new compounds such as Numonafide and TRF-DOX (transferrin-doxorubicin conjugate) to the clinical toolbox will undoubtedly improve patient outcome,” stated Jayesh Mehta MD, Professor of Medicine and Director of Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “With our new collaboration with the University of Rochester, Panther is now looking into the future and we are excited to complement our growing pipeline with TDZD-8, which is a state-of-the-art compound directed at the leukemic stem cell. This type of drug will eventually change the way we treat patients and improve response rates.”

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