Arrowhead Research Corporation (NASDAQ: ARWR) today announced that its portfolio companies, Calando Pharmaceuticals, Inc. and Nanotope, Inc., have been awarded cash grants totaling $490,000 ($245,000 each) under the U.S. Government’s Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project (“QTDP”) program.
Commenting on the awards, Dr. Christopher Anzalone, Arrowhead's President and Chief Executive Officer, stated, “The QTDP grants will help fund Calando’s ongoing Phase I trial for CALAA-01, a leading siRNA therapeutic targeting cancer, and Nanotope’s regenerative compounds that promote healing for spinal cord and other tissues. The approval process for the awards was very competitive and we are pleased that our therapeutic programs have been recognized.”
Calando is a clinical stage nanobiotechnology company at the forefront of RNAi therapeutics, developing nanoparticle therapeutics that use patented sugar (cyclodextrin) -based polymer technologies as a drug delivery system for siRNA. Engineered to reduce the debilitating effects of cancer treatment, Calando’s proprietary molecules are designed to improve the safety and efficacy of cancer therapeutics using siRNA as the active ingredient. The target-agnostic platform technology has the potential to be applied to a wide range of diseases beyond cancer, as well as to therapeutic classes beyond siRNA therapeutics. CALAA-01, Calando's leading drug candidate, is a combination of Calando’s delivery system and a patented siRNA targeting the M2 subunit of ribonucleotide reductase, a clinically-validated cancer target. Ribonucleotide reductase catalyzes the conversion of ribonucleosides to deoxyribonucleosides and is necessary for DNA synthesis and replication. It is a critical component in the proliferation of cancer cells. Calando's siRNA and CALAA-01 have demonstrated potent anti-proliferative activity across multiple types of cancer cells.
Nanotope is a regenerative medicine company that leverages a platform technology to address multiple therapeutic markets. It is developing a suite of products, each customized to regenerate specific tissues: including neuronal, vascular, cartilage, bone, and myocardial. Products are injectable compounds that work with surviving cells in and around the point of injury to initiate and support regeneration. Once regeneration is complete, the compounds are safely broken down and removed by the body. Nanotope’s lead candidates, shown to be effective in multiple animal models, target: (i) spinal cord regeneration for the reversal of paralysis; (ii) reversal of neuronal regeneration associated with Parkinson’s disease; (iii) cartilage regeneration; and (iv) advanced wound healing. Nanotope entered into a partnership with Smith & Nephew in October 2010 to commercialize its cartilage regeneration.
The Qualifying Therapeutic Discovery Project program targeted therapeutic discovery projects that showed a reasonable potential to:
- Result in new therapies to treat areas of unmet medical need or prevent, detect or treat chronic or acute diseases and conditions,
- Reduce the long-term growth of health care costs in the United States, or
- Significantly advance the goal of curing cancer within 30 years.
The program also took into consideration which projects showed the greatest potential to create and sustain high-quality, high-paying U.S. jobs and to advance U.S. competitiveness in life, biological and medical sciences.