NEW ORLEANS (October 11, 2022) – WayPath Pharma – along with LSU Health New Orleans, Department of Interdisciplinary Oncology (DIO) – today announced it secured a $225,000 Small Business Technology Transfer Grant (STTR) for the research, development and testing of the most effective metabolic drug treatments for glioblastomas.
Glioblastomas are the most aggressive tumors of the central nervous system (CNS) with a median patient survival of about 16 months. Glioblastomas typically occur in the brain or spinal cord. The current standard of care therapies include surgery, followed by radiation, chemotherapy, tumor treating fields (TTF) therapy or targeted drug therapy which all show only a minimal improvement in prolonging survival of glioblastoma patients. WayPath Pharma’s objective is to design, synthesize and test new chemical modifications of fenofibrate (FF), a common lipid-lowering prodrug, to identify the most effective metabolic compound/s against glioblastomas.
“Preclinical studies of chemical modifications in the FF molecular skeleton helped us identify our prototype drug, PP1, which is stable when exposed to blood, triggered glioblastoma cell death in vitro at concentrations almost fivefold lower than FF and accumulated in the brain tissue at therapeutically sub optional level,” said Krzysztof Reiss, co-founder of WayPath Pharma. “This prompted us to hypothesize that specific chemical modifications of the common molecular skeleton of PP1 will result in the development of a new anti-glioblastoma metabolic drug(s) with improved blood brain barrier (BBB) penetration and improved glioblastoma-specific cytotoxicity.” The most effective compound will be used first to treat spontaneous canine tumors. Preliminary tests have shown that the drug will be orally administered to canine patients. WayPath Pharma’s primary focus is to treat cancer in companion animals and to provide both safety and efficacy data for human cancer clinical trials in the future.
STTR grants are federal research grants set aside for small businesses working with a nonprofit research partner, typically a university. WayPath is a development-state companion animal pharmaceutical company formed in 2019 and led by two Louisiana scientists, Dr. Krzysztof Reiss and Dr. Branko Jursic from LSUHSC and UNO, respectively.
Patrick Reed, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Innovation & Partnerships at LSU Health said, “The STTR is an excellent way for WayPath to further validate the technology licensed from LSU Health and UNO. Successes like this help grow our life sciences ecosystem.”
The research and development of this project will take place at both LSUHSC – Department of Interdisciplinary Oncology, and the New Orleans BioInnovation Center (NOBIC). The WayPath Pharma team will work on the design and testing of new chemical compounds in preparation for large animal toxicity and efficacy studies in spontaneous canine tumors including glioblastoma. This research is anticipated to lead to a prospective Phase II STTR grant application.
Disclaimer: The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health. Research reported in this press release was supported by the National Cancer Institute and National Institutes of Health under award number R41CA275433.
About Waypath Pharma: WayPath is a development-stage companion animal pharmaceutical company formed in 2019 and led by two Louisiana State University (“LSU”) oncology researchers with over 50 years of combined experience.
About NOBIC: The New Orleans BioInnovation Center is a private, not-for-profit business incubator, supporting entrepreneurship and dedicated to the development of bioscience innovation throughout Louisiana. The Center works directly with entrepreneurs and researchers to commercialize new technologies spinning out of Louisiana universities and health care institutions, as well as those developed by independent innovators, to start and scale new globally competitive life science companies. More info: www.neworleansbio.com/impact