Early cancer studies have promising next steps after the biotechnology company Lodo Therapeutics Corp. acquired the cancer research company Hibiskus BioPharma Inc., co-founded by Michigan State University professor and associate chair for research of pediatrics André Bachmann.
“This is our second targeted transaction at Lodo and reflects our disciplined acquisition strategy based on the extensive experience of our senior team in executing value-creating transactions,” CEO of Lodo Therapeutics Dale Pfost said in a press release. “We believe these novel proteasome inhibitors are an excellent fit for Lodo. They are derived from natural products and have the potential for improved efficacy and therapeutic index compared to existing proteasome inhibitors, a mainstay of multiple myeloma treatment.”
Bachmann co-founded Hibiskus BioPharma Inc. with Michael Pirrung, distinguished professor at the University of California at Riverside, or UCR. Subsidies of the MSU Foundation, Spartan Innovations and Red Cedar Ventures helped establish the company.
The co-founders discovered selective proteasome and immunoproteasome inhibitors, which will help bring together the proteasome inhibitor portfolio and early-stage research. Proteasome inhibitors can be used to kill tumor cells in the body.
“Despite recent advances, far too many cancers remain poorly treated,” Bachmann said in the press release. “We are delighted that the experienced and committed team at Lodo will now be overseeing their preclinical and clinical development.”
Once the excess protein enters the proteasome, the protein is shredded into small peptides, a short chain of amino acids, essentially leaving the protein digested.
“In some instances, this process can help cancer cells grow. The proteasome inhibitors we found block the shredder’s ‘teeth’ (the proteasome activity), stopping the production of small paper pieces (peptides) and preventing cancer growth,” Bachmann said. “Another advantage is that cancer cells are also more sensitive to proteasome inhibitors than normal healthy cells.”
Early research includes the lead proteasome inhibitor, LODO-141, described by Lodo Therapeutics as an irreversible and potent hybrid cyclic peptide proteasome inhibitor from the syrbactin natural product family.
Studies conducted in chemoresistant cell lines published earlier this year by Leukemia Research showed that LODO-141 is more effective than three marketed proteasome inhibitors in resistant multiple myeloma and mantle cell lymphoma.
The National Cancer Institute and other researchers that conducted preclinical studies and reported in the Journal of Biological Chemistry produced promising early data.
LODO-141 demonstrated antiproliferative activity in solid tumor cell lines including, renal, colon, non-small-cell lung carcinoma, central nervous system, melanoma, ovarian, prostate and breast cancer.
Associate director of MSU Technologies of the MSU Innovation Center Anne Di Sante said the completion of the exclusive license by Lodo Therapeutics of the MSU and UCR co-owned intellectual property exemplifies the collaborative nature of universities.
“We’re thrilled to see how the next level of this research will be amplified and the potential therapeutic treatment options which may result,” Di Sante said in a press release.
According to Director of Venture Creation of the MSU Foundation Frank Urban, through corporate strategy and early-stage investment through Red Cedar Ventures, Spartan Innovations was able to provide early support of Hibiskus BioPharma. The Tech Transfer Talent Network funded a grant in addition to further Spartan Innovations support.
“It is great to see new technologies like the proteasome inhibitors Hibiskus was developing attract the attention of a group with experience in therapeutic development like Lodo Therapeutics, which has the expertise and resources to move novel therapies into clinical trials quickly,” Urban said in the press release. “These transactions are exciting to see and work to progress the great technologies being developed at MSU.”
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