Panther Biotechnology, Inc., a biotechnology company specializing in the development of enhanced therapeutics for the treatment of neoplastic and autoimmune disorders, is pleased to announce today that it has entered into an exclusive global license agreement with Northwestern University.
Under the terms of the agreement, Panther has licensed from Northwestern University the rights to develop and commercialize new technologies to enhance efficacy and decrease toxic side effects of a novel category of anti-cancer drugs. The licensed compounds, called Numonafides, are optimized derivatives of Amonafide, and are engineered to avoid acetylation and eliminate a toxic metabolite. Numonafides have demonstrated broad in vitro activity in blood, cervical, colon, gastric, liver, lung and skin cancers. Laboratory results suggest that the lead compound has a broad spectrum of anti-tumor activities with minimal toxicity and minimal chances of developing drug resistance. In addition, mouse models have demonstrated increased tumor response by Numonafide, as well as a great reduction in toxicities compared to Amonafide. The license is based on the issued US patents 8,420,665 and 8,829,025 filed under “Anti-Cancer Compounds.”
The Company is in the process of conducting additional pre-clinical studies to support an Investigational New Drug submission during the 4th quarter of 2015 with the intention of initiating a Phase 1 / 2 study by the end of the year. Panther is able to leverage its close relationship with Northwestern to conduct these activities. The initial target indication is treatment refractory acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and may include other cancers such as triple negative breast cancer, which have historically relied upon cancer therapies that produce severe side effects, as well as hepatocellular carcinoma, for which, there are no effective and minimally toxic systemic chemotherapeutics.
“Drugs that bind DNA and inhibit genome associated proteins confer survival benefit in patients with AML, but it has been difficult to treat patients with such drugs due to off target toxicity concerns,” stated Dr. Jayesh Mehta, MD, a hematologist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and a Panther director. “This license agreement with Northwestern provides access to technologies that may allow us to enhance response in patients without dose-limiting toxicities associated with currently used drugs. These novel drugs, the Numonafides, could unlock a new highly effective and minimally toxic treatment paradigm, that may even cure a high percentage of patients with AML — and perhaps certain other cancers beyond AML.”
Evan Levine, Chief Executive Officer of Panther, added, “This license agreement represents an expansion of our intellectual property and technology portfolio that we are confident will ultimately lead to a broadening of our pipeline. As we continue advancing our clinical programs in hematological cancers, we look forward to working with our long-time collaborators at Northwestern to develop and commercialize these new technologies in multiple indications. The Company is also engaged in advanced discussions with the owners of other potentially complementary technologies for treatment of blood, and other cancers and we hope to be in a position soon to announce the acquisition and/or licensing of multiple additional development candidates for our pipeline.”
Becky Crump, PhD, Associate Director in Northwestern’s Innovation and New Ventures Office, commented, “Northwestern University is excited about this collaboration with Panther Biotechnology, an organization that has engaged a highly talented and well respected team to develop Numonafides and transition them to clinical application. Our institution’s intellectual capital and experience in cancer drug discovery and development are highly synergistic with Panther’s experience and strengths in developing and commercializing oncology drugs.”