MMRF Biotech Investment Award Bolsters Development of Novel Myeloma Therapies
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) today announced that it has awarded $500,000 through its Biotech Investment Award (BIA) program to Modulation Therapeutics. Since the inception of this MMRF program in 2006, $11.5 million has been committed to 12 biotech companies in multi-year, results-driven funding for the development of innovative treatments for patients with multiple myeloma.
The MMRF Biotech Investment Award funding for Modulation Therapeutics will support the clinical development of its proprietary approach for treating tumors that home or metastasize to the bone. William S. Dalton, Ph.D., M.D., and colleagues first reported that cell adhesion mediated drug resistance or CAM-DR can contribute to drug resistance in multiple myeloma. The critical importance of targeting CAM-DR in mediating the progression of multiple myeloma has become increasingly clear in recent years based on work supported by the MMRF in the laboratory of Lori Hazlehurst, Ph.D., Associate Member in the Molecular Oncology Program at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and co-founder of Modulation Therapeutics.
The company’s lead candidate MTI-101 binds the cell adhesion molecule CD44 and induces programmed necrosis in myeloma cell lines and demonstrates robust anti-tumor activity as a single agent using myeloma in vivo models. While standard therapy typically induces apoptotic cell death, MTI-101 targets alternative cell death pathways critical for the treatment of refractory disease. In support of this premise, data generated using myeloma patient specimens suggest that MTI-101 may prove most effective in cases of relapsed myeloma.
“This BIA funding and the early support of the MMRF is critical for accelerating MTI-101 into clinical trials in multiple myeloma, the first of multiple indications we hope to pursue,” said Dr. Hazlehurst. “Modulation Therapeutics is committed to developing peptides targeting key cell adhesion molecules that mediate homing, engraftment and survival of tumor cells in bone marrow, an approach we hope will ultimately enable novel therapies meeting the significant unmet need in multiple myeloma.”
Several MMRF Biotech Investment Awards program recipients have already released impressive clinical trial results with novel therapies, including Tragara Pharmaceuticals (TG02), Astex Pharmaceuticals (AT7519) and Intellikine (acquired in 2011 by Takeda Pharmaceuticals; INK128). AT7519 and INK128 are in parallel studies run by MMRF sister organization, the Multiple Myeloma Research Consortium (MMRC).
“It is critical to support the development of novel approaches to treat multiple myeloma as the survival rate for multiple myeloma remains one of the lowest of any cancer. This recent award affirms our commitment to the next generation of therapeutics for patients,” said Louise M. Perkins, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer of the MMRF.
About the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF)
The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) was established in 1998 as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization by twin sisters Karen Andrews and Kathy Giusti, soon after Kathy’s diagnosis with multiple myeloma. The mission of the MMRF is to relentlessly pursue innovative means that accelerate the development of next-generation multiple myeloma treatments to extend the lives of patients and lead to a cure. As the world’s number-one private funder of multiple myeloma research, the MMRF has raised over $190 million since its inception and directs 90% of total budget to research and related programming. As a result, the MMRF has been awarded Charity Navigator’s coveted four star rating for nine consecutive years, the highest designation for outstanding fiscal responsibility and exceptional efficiency. For more information about the MMRF, please visit www.themmrf.org.
About Modulation Therapeutics
Modulation Therapeutics is an early-stage pharmaceutical company which has licensed MTI-101 from the Moffitt Cancer Center. We are dedicated towards improving patient outcomes by developing novel approaches for targeting cell adhesion molecules critical for mediating drug resistance and survival of tumor cells. For more information about Modulation Therapeutics please visit www.modulationtherapeutics.com
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