Stuart Rose, co-founder and board chair of local start-up SolaranRx, Inc. announced that the company will team up with the National Cancer Institute for pre-clinical testing of technology the company is commercializing for the diagnosis and treatment of metastatic melanoma. The technology was developed at the University of New Mexico by Dr. Yubin Miao, former associate professor in the UNM departments of pharmaceutical sciences and dermatology. To read more about this latest development, see Kevin Robinson-Avila’s January 11, 2016 article, “ABQ firm partners with National Cancer Institute,” from ABQJournal Online, reprinted below. Also see Megan Cruz’ February 18, 2016 KOAT report, at http://www.koat.com/news/area-company-targets-melanoma-cure-by-targeting-cells/38046660.
ABQ firm partners with National Cancer Institute
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Albuquerque-based SolaranRX Inc., which is developing University of New Mexico technology to diagnose and treat melanoma, has signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement with the National Cancer Institute to test its technology on laboratory mice.
The company, which launched in 2014 and is housed at the Bioscience Center in Uptown Albuquerque, will pay for the research, which could cost about $50,000. But given that the Cancer Institute is a part of the National Institutes of Health, the agreement shows significant confidence in SolaranRX’s therapy, said Stuart Rose, company co-founder and board chair.
“This provides a level of validation for our technology,” Rose said. “That it’s been accepted into the program says that the Institute believes it has meaningful potential.”
The technology uses a peptide that specifically binds to melanoma cells. Doctors can load it up with imaging and therapeutic radionuclides to assess the spread of melanoma, then target the tumors for treatment.
Dr. Yubin Miao, associate professor at UNM’s pharmaceutical sciences and dermatology departments, developed the technology. SolaranRX licensed it from UNM.
The National Cancer Institute and SolaranRX will jointly evaluate the peptide in pre-clinical mouse models, which could help pave the way for human trials in the future, said SolaranRX CEO Les Stewart.
“Combining our expertise with that of the National Cancer Institute…will help SolaranRX accelerate the development of our Precision Theranostic Platform for metastatic melanoma,” Stewart said. “Current immunotherapy treatments for malignant melanoma are effective in only a subset of patients, and a significant number of patients must stop treatment due to side effects. Thus, new therapeutic modalities like SolaranRX’s platform that may be effective in a broader melanoma patient population are greatly needed.”
SolaranRX presented at Technology Venture Corp.’s Deal Stream Summit in Albuquerque last September to raise $4 million in private equity. The company is now talking with potential investors, with meetings scheduled for this month in San Francisco, Rose said.