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INSIDE INDUSTRY
University of Illinois licenses novel anti-cancer therapies to StemPar Sciences
StemPar Sciences, Inc., the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Illinois), and the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UTSW) have entered into a license agreement through which StemPar Sciences plans to develop cancer therapeutics based on compounds designed by Professor Paul Hergenrother of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Professor David Boothman, the Robert B. and Virginia Payne Professor in Oncology and Associate Director for Translation Research at UTSW.

The quinone-based compounds exhibited potent anti-cancer activity by inducing programed necrosis, meaning they activate the molecular pathway that causes the premature death of cancerous cells and tissue. The potency and selectivity of these new compounds rival commonly used chemotherapy agents by targeting solid tumors that have elevated levels of the enzyme NAD(P)H:quinone oxioreductase 1 (NQO1). Research indicates that the compounds are able to target a range of solid tumors that are considered difficult to treat, including pancreatic and lung cancers. Furthermore, research suggests that this new class of quinone-based compounds express greater potency than other molecules in the same class, such as β-lapachone. These findings, published in the journal Cancer Research, have shown great promise in pre-clinical testing in mice.

“We view this exclusive worldwide license as an important part of our growing cancer metabolism IP estate,” said StemPar CEO Barry Sherman, MD. “Indeed, this intellectual property has the potential to become a vital ingredient in the quest to develop novel cancer medicines based on the science of cancer metabolism.”

“We are proud to partner with StemPar Sciences to advance this promising research into new cancer therapies,” said Jen Rice, Technology Manager at Illinois’ Office of Technology Management. “We believe the alliance leverages our complementary strengths and will accelerate the development of powerful new therapeutics.”

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