UNM Rainforest Innovations

A new biotechnology startup has emerged in our innovation ecosystem with the goal of fighting cancer with novel technology developed at the University of New Mexico (UNM). Advanced Concepts in Biology, LLC and UNM Rainforest Innovations, the technology transfer and economic development organization for UNM, closed on a license agreement in the fall of last year for exclusive rights to the technology.

Ovarian cancer is the deadliest gynecological disease and relapse after front line therapy claims the lives of approximately half of all patients within five years of diagnosis. Maintenance therapies such as PARP inhibitors and inhibitors of angiogenesis extend disease-free survival for some patients, but improving patient outcomes remains limited due to the lack of options for additional targeted therapies.

Researchers at UNM identified an isomer of the FDA-approved drug Ketorolac that has the ability to selectively inhibit key cancer pathways and treat multiple tumors including ovarian and breast cancer. This component, called R-Ketorolac, selectively inhibits Rac1 and Cdc42 and was found to be less toxic and could be dosed much higher and for longer periods of time in comparison to Ketorolac.

In a retrospective study, researchers were able to correlate racemic Ketorolac with ovarian cancer survival benefits. It was found that elevated expression and activity of Rac1 and Cdc42, that were seen in ovarian cancer patients’ tissues, confirmed the importance of targeting this pathway for treatment. Furthermore, there is clinical evidence that corresponds elevated Rac1 levels to worse long-term outcomes for ovarian cancer patients.

Based on this promising data, Advanced Concepts in Biology are currently developing R-Ketorolac towards an Investigational New Drug application with the FDA and a Phase I/II clinical trial in ovarian cancer patients at the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. Key management includes Jeffrey Serbin, Peter Kash, Richard Serbin, and Colby Kash.

To learn more, contact Jeffrey Serbin at jeffreyserbin@icloud.com

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