A $150,000 grant by the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program from the National Cancer Institute was awarded to RadioMedix, Inc. and Viewpoint Molecular Targeting LLC of Iowa City. This is a Phase I award to support the development of new agents for enhanced targeted imaging and alpha-particle therapy of metastatic melanoma.
RadioMedix, Inc. is a clinical phase biotechnology company whose goals are commercialization of innovative targeted radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose, monitor and treat cancer. The company was responsible for the development of two service facilities aimed at academic and industrial collaborators, the cGMP Manufacturing Suite for clinical probe development and Molecular Imaging Facility for evaluation of agents in animal models. Furthermore, the company has successfully finished the development of GlucoMedix™, a radiolabeled theranostic agent that detects the glycolytic pathway in cancer cells.
Viewpoint Molecular Targeting LLC is a company that develops pharmaceutical drugs for diagnostic imaging to treat cancer with a special focus on metastatic melanoma. These two firms are joining forces to give hope to metastatic melanoma patients. Current available treatments against metastatic melanoma are limited due to the heterogeneity and drug resistance of these tumors, with systemic therapies achieving responses in only 5 to 20 percent of the patients.
“Our theranostic agents can differentiate cancer cells from normal cells based on differences in their metabolic pathways. This highly competitive NCI award will accelerate development of more effective methods of selective delivery of radiation to cancer cells, while reducing radiation exposure of normal tissues. This is a great step for our companies and we are pleased with the NCI decision,” explained Dr. Izabela Tworowska, Chief Science Officer at RadioMedix and Principal Investigator on this grant in a press release.
Dr. Izabela Tworowska will collaborate with Dr. Michael K. Schultz, Associate Professor of Radiology and Radiation Oncology at the University of Iowa and Viewpoint CSO. “This grant represents an important milestone for our co-development work with Radiomedix. Our new technologies have great potential to improve therapy for metastatic melanoma patients”, added Dr. Schultz.
“Although a significant research progress has been made in recent years, there are limited numbers of diagnostic and therapeutic agents available for patients with progressive metastatic melanoma. As a clinician, I understand the urgent need for access to more sensitive and specific methods of diagnosis and more effective personalized treatment (…) We are expecting to initiate first-in-human studies of these agents in 2015,” concluded Dr. Ebrahim S. Delpassand, CEO and Chairman of RadioMedix Inc.