OncoThira and NDSU enter into license agreement to develop, market cancer compounds

The NDSU Research Foundation and OncoThira have entered into a license agreement involving technology developed at North Dakota State University (NDSU). OncoThira will develop and market compounds discovered by NDSU pharmaceutical sciences researcher Steven Qian for the treatment of cancer. The main compound developed by the research has shown a significant reduction in the size of tumors associated with multiple cancers in animal models.

“Many current cancer treatment methods use inhibitors to block COX-2 (cyclooxygenase), a membrane-bound enzyme expressed abundantly in cancer tumors and which can promote tumor growth. However, this approach has clinical outcomes limitations. In addition, COX-2 inhibitors can severely injure the gastrointestinal tract and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease,” said Steven Qian, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences in the College of Health Professions at NDSU.

“Our strategy represents a paradigm shift in cancer treatment by taking advantage of high COX-2 expression in cancer to down regulate cancer promoting prostaglandins and elevate production of the recently characterized anti-cancer compound 8-HOA (8-hydroxyoctanoic acid),” said Qian.

OncoThira and NDSU will further optimize the drug and progress studies toward human clinical trials. While specific details of the terms of the agreement are not public, OncoThira will make various milestone payments and pay royalties on sales of a drug that is covered by pending patents.

“We at OncoThira are very excited about this opportunity with NDSU. We believe this technology puts us at the forefront of cancer research to develop a novel, targeted cancer therapy by taking advantage of the body’s natural defenses to inhibit cancer growth and metastasis, as well as enhancing current chemo-agents to revolutionize cancer treatment,” said Dr. Nick Poulios, Chairman of OncoThira.