New company’s bifunctional technology blocks tumor growth and stimulates the immune system to fight cancer
CLEVELAND, FEBRUARY 7, 2019 — BioMotiv, a drug development accelerator associated with The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, and researchers from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, today announced the formation of a new biotech start-up, TamRx. The new company will focus on the development of a novel family of small molecule inhibitors designed to block tumor growth and stimulate the immune system to fight various forms of cancer.
“The potential held by this novel technology to both block tumor growth and elicit an anti-tumor immune response is very exciting,” said Baiju R. Shah, CEO of BioMotiv. “We look forward to working with Drs. Birge, Welsh, and Peng as they advance their discoveries with the TamRx team.”
The TamRx technology was developed by scientific founders Ray Birge of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, William Welsh of Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, Youyi Peng of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, and other researchers. The technology blocks ligand (Gas6) binding, thereby inhibiting TAM (Tyro3, Axl, and Mertk)-mediated activation of cellular processes that may lead to aggressive growth and spread of tumors. In addition to blocking tumor growth and metastasis, the pan-TAM inhibitors work as anticancer agents to indirectly promote an anti-tumor immune response. The TamRx technology is expected to work in combination with immuno-oncology therapies—including checkpoint inhibitors—in a wide variety of cancers.
The TAM family of receptor tyrosine kinases are implicated in a wide spectrum of human cancers in which TAM over-expression is clinically-associated with both an aggressive tumor grade and poor survival outcomes. TamRx’s pipeline of small molecule inhibitors target the TAM-Gas6 interface. The TamRx inhibitors are advantageous due to their extracellular activity and ability to target all three receptors.
According to Drs. Birge, Welsh, and Peng, this new approach to fighting cancer and boosting the immune response shows promise to be a real game-changer in the oncology field. The Rutgers researchers are “excited to work with BioMotiv and the team at TamRx to advance this technology.”
BioMotiv is the mission-driven accelerator associated with The Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, a $340 million initiative for advancing medicine centered at University Hospitals in Cleveland. The focus is to accelerate breakthrough discoveries from research institutions into therapeutics for patients through an innovative model that efficiently aligns capital and collaborations. The company leverages an experienced team and advisory board to select, fund, and actively manage and advance a portfolio of drug development programs.
For more information, go to: www.biomotiv.com
About Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, is a leading national research university and the state of New Jersey’s preeminent, comprehensive public institution of higher education. Established in 1766, the university is the eighth oldest higher education institution in the United States. More than 69,000 students and 22,500 full- and part-time faculty and staff learn, work, and serve the public at Rutgers locations across New Jersey and around the world.