TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 12/18/12 -- Lorus Therapeutics Inc. (TSX: LOR) ("Lorus"), a biopharmaceutical company specializing in the discovery, research and development of pharmaceutical products and technologies for the management of cancer, today announced that it has signed a collaboration agreement with Brock University for the development of novel anticancer drugs based on chemical derivatives of the natural compound pancratistatin.
Under the collaboration, Lorus will test the anticancer activity and drug-like properties of pancratistatin derivatives synthesized by Dr. Tomas Hudlicky's research group at Brock University. Lorus will contribute 50% of total eligible costs in the form of cash and/or in-kind contributions to the project, and will share jointly with Brock University in new intellectual property created from this collaboration. This collaborative partnership is made possible through funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario's Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative.
Pancratistatin has strong anti-tumor activity against a number of cancers, including breast, lung, prostate, and pancreatic tumors, with minimal toxic effects on normal cells. The development of pancratistatin as a cancer therapy has been challenging because of its limited availability from natural sources and its poor solubility. Dr. Hudlicky's group has synthesized several pancratistatin derivatives that have improved solubility and yield, and which show anticancer activity based on preliminary studies. Lorus will conduct further anticancer testing on these and additional compounds, as well as bioavailability studies in animals.
"Tomas and his group have done some ground-breaking work and we are very pleased to join this effort in developing novel derivatives of pancratistatin, which we believe is a new and exciting approach to cancer treatment," said Aiping Young, MD, PhD, President and CEO of Lorus Therapeutics. "We continually seek out innovative programs to complement our pipeline of cancer products, and we look forward to contributing our expertise in targeted drug development to accelerate this program from the academic lab into the preclinical development stage."
"This is an exciting new opportunity. Professor Hudlicky has an impressive track record commercialising his scientific discoveries, and we are very happy that this new partnership is with Lorus, an innovative company also located in Ontario," said John Wilson PhD, Director of Innovation and Commercialization, Brock University.
Pancratistatin is a potent naturally occurring anti-tumor agent isolated from the Amaryllidaceae family of plants. Drug development of this compound has been hampered because it has poor solubility and bio-availability. Recent work from the Professor Hudlicky's laboratory has led to the discovery and development of potent synthetic derivatives of pancratistatin and 7-deoxypancratistatin that have proven highly active against several cancer cell lines, causing cancer cell killing while not affecting healthy cells. With more than 12 million new cancer cases diagnosed each year and anti-cancer drug sales exceeding $50 billion worldwide in 2009, new drugs, like pancratistatin derivatives with efficacy against major tumor types, have a very significant market potential.
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