Healthcare Industry News: Cancer Genetics
News Release - December 8, 2009
Therasis Obtains $12 Million From Tilocor in Series A RoundFunds to Allow Oncology Start-Up to Identify New Drug Candidates Using Proprietary Discovery Engine Therasis Filter(TM)
NEW YORK, NY, Dec 8 -- (HSMN NewsFeed) -- Therasis, Inc., a newly founded oncology drug discovery company, has secured $12 million in a Series A financing from Tilocor Life Science. The funds will allow the Company to launch and further develop its proprietary oncology drug discovery engine, the Therasis Filter(TM). This platform employs a systems biology approach and represents a significant advance over existing technologies, enabling the identification of new chemical entities, biomarkers and synergistic combinations through the construction and analysis of tumor-derived molecular interaction networks. The Company's initial efforts will focus on developing an internal pipeline of oncology drug candidates and forming drug discovery collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.
"The Therasis Filter(TM) represents a paradigm shift in drug discovery that overcomes many of the hurdles in developing optimal anti-cancer therapies, in particular the ability to identify and target the multiple chemical pathways altered in a specific tumor subtype," said Andrea Califano, Ph.D., co-founder of Therasis. "This funding allows Therasis to build internal capacity and offer potential partners the unprecedented advantages of our screening technology, which greatly facilitates the identification of both disease-relevant activity as well as effective drug combinations."
Therasis was founded based on technology developed at the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center by three internationally-recognized thought leaders: Dr. Andrea Califano, Director of the Joint Centers for Systems Biology at Columbia University and Associate Director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center; Riccardo Dalla-Favera, M.D., Director of the Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center; and Owen A. O'Connor, M.D., Ph.D., presently Deputy Director of Clinical Research and Cancer Treatment at the New York University Cancer Institute. Collectively, they bring unique expertise and decades of experience in cancer systems biology, Cancer Genetics and pathology, and small molecule discovery and drug development in hematological malignancies.
"The co-founders of Therasis have individually made impressive contributions to their respective fields. The industrial translation of their combined academic leadership has the potential to make a real difference for cancer drug discovery," said Stefan Catsicas, Chairman of Tilocor. "Many academic and biotech groups have either systems biology, screening or chemistry outstanding expertise. But very few have managed to assemble all the necessary skills to truly transform how new oncology treatments are identified and developed."
About the Therasis Filter(TM)
The Therasis Filter(TM) enables the identification of disease-specific alterations in the networks of molecular interactions that regulate cellular processes, allowing the rapid identification of new chemical entities and synergistic combinations that target these alterations. Beginning with high throughput screening of compound libraries, the Therasis Filter(TM) first collects a large number of molecular profiles of chemically-perturbed cells. These profiles are used to reconstruct accurate maps of molecular interactions, also known as "interactomes." The latter are experimentally validated and analyzed to identify disease-specific alterations in tumor-derived tissues, compounds targeting these alterations and biomarkers complementing clinical development. Interactomes are also effective in characterizing drug mechanisms of action, supporting both drug rescuing and drug repositioning efforts.
Therasis, Inc. is a new drug discovery company developing oncology therapeutics for use as single agents or in combination therapy. The Company's proprietary technology, the Therasis Filter(TM), represents a paradigm shift in the ability to discover therapeutic targets, their chemical inhibitors and associated biomarkers. This platform integrates world-class expertise in high throughput screening, systems biology, Cancer Genetics and clinical research. Therasis plans to leverage its discovery engine to identify new chemical entities for internal development and to forge collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies on drug repositioning.
Therasis's technology platform was developed at Columbia University by internationally recognized thought leaders in Cancer Genetics, cancer systems biology and cancer therapeutic development. The Company is funded by Tilocor Life Science. Learn more at www.therasis.com.
Tilocor has established a small group of innovation-driven companies, working synergistically to better understand unmet medical needs and the new technologies that can be used to address them. Co-founded by Professor Stefan Catsicas, former Vice-President of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Lausanne), the Tilocor Group promotes an entrepreneurial approach adapted to the long-term needs of the life science sector. Currently, Tilocor companies focus on inflammation, infectious diseases and cancer with specific therapeutic agents that include intracellular peptides, human antibodies and small chemical entities. More information is available at www.tilocor.com
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