TechTown's SciTech honored by NIH, Michigan Growth Capital SymposiumMay 2, 2008
Wayne State University startup may hold key to fighting pancreatic cancer
DETROIT, April 28, 2008- SciTech, a Wayne State University spin-off company headquartered at the university's TechTown research and technology park in Detroit, is garnering national attention and accolades for promising anti-cancer drug research that may save thousands of lives from pancreatic and other deadly cancers.
SciTech has been chosen by the National Institutes of Health Commercialization Assistance Program (NIH-CAP) to present at the Larta Institute's 2008 Venture Forum, the largest and longest running showcase of early stage innovation and entrepreneurship. SciTech also has been chosen to present at the 2008 Michigan Growth Capital Symposium, where investors meet the "Best of the Midwest" in emerging technologies.
"SciTech has a promising anticancer drug," said NIH-CAP Principal Advisor Louis Scarmoutzos, a member of the NIH committee that selected SciTech to participate in the Larta forum. "It shows a great deal of probability of being successful, which is no small feat. There's a vast minefield of drug candidates that have failed. One of the unique features of SciTech's drug is that it has been used in good model systems that include human data. SciTech actually has the right mix of science and business acumen."
Established in 2001, SciTech's mission is to leverage applied research in oncology drug development and, specifically, to solve a performance problem with a well known anticancer agent under clinical study. To that end, SciTech created an intravenous version of fenretinide, a high-potential yet under-realized cancer drug, that delivers the drug at dosage levels shown to produce internal concentrations that induce cell death without additional toxic or allergic effects. SciTech's nanoparticle drug-delivery platform is promising for treating several different cancers including pancreatic.
"We are pleased to have been selected to present at these two well established venture forums," SciTech President and CEO Earle T. Holsapple said. "We attribute our success to having solved a performance problem for this well-known drug that has shown potential human efficacy in up to eight cancer indications while also having created a novel drug delivery system for a whole class of previously shelved, yet promising anticancer agents. Based on the extensive potential of our delivery system, we are confident that we will attract investors and collaborators soon to help us bring this initial drug product back into human trials."
The NIH-CAP was designed to help promising life sciences companies around the country bring their technologies to market. The program is for select NIH SBIR Phase II grant recipients, and only 30 NIH-CAP companies were selected to attend the 2008 Larta forum in May. Based in California, the Larta Institute was originally formed in 1993 to assist small startups developing innovative technologies. The Institute has expanded across the globe since then to serve thousands of companies in a range of technology sectors.
The Michigan Growth Capital Symposium is sponsored by the University of Michigan Ross School of Business and is one of the longest-running of its kind. Only 30 Midwest companies were selected for inclusion in this investor presentation forum.
"It's exciting to have this high-tech startup company getting recognition from the NIH and to have the venture community supporting their development to the next stage," said Judy Johncox, Director of Venture Development for the Wayne State University Technology Commercialization Office and Technical Director of TechTown.
TechTown is an urban community of entrepreneurs, investors, mentors and corporate partners creating an internationally recognized entrepreneurial village in the city of Detroit. TechTown brings the resources of Wayne State University to high technology start-up companies to diversify and strengthen Michigan's economy with life sciences, advanced engineering, and alternative energy. For more information, visit www.techtownwsu.org