Arisaph Pharmaceuticals, a privately held drug discovery and development biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel therapies for cardiometabolic diseases and cancer, has been awarded a phase I Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) award from the National Cancer Institute of the NIH. The award supports the R&D of Arisaph's small molecule immune modulators to stimulate tumor immunity following treatment with BRAF inhibitors in cancer.
Following the successful completion of the research, the company may be eligible for up to $2 million of additional phase II funding to further the development of its immune modulator program for the treatment of melanoma. To date, Arisaph has received in excess of $55 million of non-dilutive capital, including $2.8 million awarded under the U.S. government's Therapeutics Discovery Project Program (TDPP) and $37 million from royalty monetizations leveraging the company's DPP 4 inhibitor patent estate.
Arisaph has leveraged its medicinal chemistry expertise to develop a class of small molecule immune modulators to boost the immune system to fight various cancers. Such immune modulators are expected to enhance the efficacy of various therapeutic antibodies (e.g., mAbs for tumor killing or for immunomodulation) and small molecule anti-cancer agents, such as BRAF inhibitors to treat colon cancer, melanoma and possibly other solid tumors.
The company also is developing tumor activated prodrugs, which are largely inactive in general circulation, but selectively activated by a specific enzyme that is up-regulated in tumor tissue to release anti-cancer warheads. This platform technology has led to the discovery of a lead tumor activated proteosome inhibitor and a lead tumor activated doxorubicin for treatment of a range of cancers.