The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) will invest $1.5 million over three years for the development of a novel drug by Toronto-based Fluorinov Pharma.
The drug, FV-162, is a highly potent, orally-delivered small molecule proteasome inhibitor with significant advantages over drugs currently used to treat multiple myeloma and some forms of Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.
"Our investment in Fluorinov Pharma will move FV-162 towards the market by helping it to meet the preclinical requirements of Health Canada and the FDA," said Frank Stonebanks, vice president of commercialization and chief commercial officer of OICR. "This novel drug is very promising and could improve the quality of life and outcomes of patients with certain blood cancers."
An important target for therapies treating blood cancers such as multiple myeloma is the proteasome, a part of the cell that recycles old proteins. While effective, the current proteasome inhibitor-based treatment is toxic and requires intravenous delivery. Additionally, some cancers develop resistance over time. FV-162 has the potential to vastly improve the current treatment because it has lower toxicity, can be taken orally and has shown to be effective against drug-resistant cancer cells in the laboratory.
OICR will support Fluorinov Pharma's development of FV-162 through its Intellectual Property Development and Commercialization (IPDC) fund, which was established to bridge the gap in the commercialization process between support from traditional public funding agencies and private investors.
In 2011, the criteria for receiving support from the IPDC Fund were expanded to include Ontario start-up companies with promising oncology intellectual property developed outside of academia. Fluorinov Pharma is the first company to receive funding under the new criteria.
"OICR's investment provides Fluorinov with not only funds to further develop FV-162, but also with the business expertise of OICR's commercialization group," said Dr. Malik Slassi, president and CSO, Fluorinov. "During this important transition to a clinical development company, we look forward to working with OICR to bring this candidate medicine to patients in need."