Bexion Pharmaceuticals announced today that it has been awarded a $1.5M Phase II Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant by the National Cancer Institute (NCI).
The grant entitled "SapC-DOPS Nanovesicles for Treating Glioblastoma Multiforme" was awarded September 28, 2010 and covers a two year period. This announcement from NCI follows their September 20, 2010 announcement selecting Bexion for a notable research collaboration with NCI's Nanotechnology Characterization Laboratory (NCL), part of a major program, the Alliance for Nanotechnology in Cancer, to advance the medical applications of nanotechnology.
Bexion's proprietary technology is based on Saposin C- dioleoylphosphatidylserine (dubbed "SapC-DOPS") and is a first-in-class nanovesicle therapeutic for the treatment of glioblastomas (GBM), pancreatic cancers, and other solid tumors. These nanovesicles have preferential affinity for phosphatidylserine-enriched membrane patches which appear to be common in many types of tumor cells and tumor neovasculature. Bexion's initial studies of SapC-DOPS nanovesicles have shown that they induce apoptosis in cancer cell lines and also demonstrated in vivo efficacy in multiple tumor models.
The intent of this Phase II SBIR grant is to identify and select optimized SapC-DOPS formulations and treatment methods for glioblastoma multiforme, suitable for advancing Bexion's drug toward planned human testing. Upon the completion of these studies, Bexion expects to have compelling evidence to progress into clinical development.
"This Phase II award will expedite our goal to develop a new molecular entity with a novel mechanism of action for targeting and eliminating glioblastoma multiforme (GBM, high grade glioma), a deadly and invasive brain tumor with no effective treatment," stated Dr. Ray Takigiku, Bexion's co-founder and CEO. "Of the 12,000 patients expected to be diagnosed with GBM this year, most will succumb within the first year. Clearly, there is an urgent demand for an efficacious anti-glioma drug."
This SBIR Phase II award is the fourth grant won by Bexion from the NCI. Past awards include Phase I grants for treating Metastatic Prostate, Pancreatic and Glioblastoma Multiforme.