Monon Bioventures has received a 1-year Phase I Small Business Innovation Research grant from the National Cancer Institute. The $398,314 grant will be used to demonstrate the feasibility of manufacturing a glioblastoma therapeutic created at the Purdue University College of Pharmacy.
The potential treatment was developed by Sandro Matosevic, assistant professor in the Dept. of Industrial and Physical Pharmacy.
“Therapeutics for certain cancers have used related approaches with other immune cells, called T cells, which are obtained from the patient,” Matosevic stated in a release. “Natural killer cells can be accepted from multiple donors, however, not just the patient, which makes them much safer and which dramatically expands our ability to manufacture them in large doses to treat many patients. They are also very efficient at killing glioblastoma cells.”
Joe Trebley, president and CEO of the company, which was created to help world-class investigators navigate early stage challenges of translating their research into the clinic,
stated that the federal funds have the “potential to bring hope to patients suffering from glioblastoma.”
“His discovery provides a critical preclinical proof of concept of illness,” Trebley said. “Our plans are to translate the discovery into the clinic by first working on the manufacturability of the novel therapeutic.”
Monon Bioventures, which is housed in the Indiana Center for Biomedical Innovation, will work on the treatment with Matosevic’s laboratory at Purdue and Genezen, a viral vector and gene therapy contract development and manufacturing organization.
“Arming the NK cells requires genetic modification of the cells through the use of an appropriate viral vector as a tool,” Trebley stated. “Genezen is a scientific leader in the production of lentiviral vectors and their use in cell transduction, which is delivering genes to cells.”
After the grant-sponsored work is complete, Monon Bioventures will meet with the FDA to discuss the company’s plans to move the treatment to clinical studies. After receiving FDA feedback, Monon will look to finance the project further.