OncoSynergy, a University of California San Francisco spinoff focused on addressing unmet needs in oncology, particularly orphan cancers, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to fund a study testing its experimental cancer drug, OS2966, for ebola infection.
The growing ebola crisis in West Africa has been declared a Public Health Emergency of Global Concern by the World Health Organization, with a death toll exceeding 1,000 people.
OS2966 is a monoclonal antibody drug candidate being investigated in multiple models of highly aggressive cancers. OS2966 inhibits CD29, a major cellular adhesion receptor fundamental to cancer progression. It also is thought CD29, which is highly enriched in the body's normal blood vessels, is hijacked by the ebola virus during infection. The proposed studies will examine whether OS2966 can block ebola infection in cultured human vascular cells.
"We have a unique opportunity to potentially effect a major impact on the current global ebola crisis," said W. Shawn Carbonell, M.D., Ph.D., founder and CEO of OncoSynergy. "However, as a seed stage biotech startup with six employees, we don't have the bandwidth to take on projects beyond our central mission focused on cancer. We are teaming up with Science Exchange and Experiment to accomplish the initial experiments, which are an important first step toward possible clinical testing of OS2966. We now need the public's help to fund the work so we can start as soon as possible."
San Francisco-based Experiment (formerly Microryza), a platform for crowdfunding science projects, is hosting the OncoSynergy fundraising campaign.
OncoSynergy has potentially dozens of OS2966 doses on hand should the project advance to human testing. Carbonell further noted OS2966 production is standard and it can be readily manufactured at clinical scale in a matter of weeks by any commercial biologics facility.