January 09, 2018
Dracen Pharmaceuticals Inc., announced today that it has entered into an exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with The Johns Hopkins University (Baltimore) and the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry (Prague) to certain technology jointly owned by Johns Hopkins and IOCB. Dracen will utilize the licensed technology to develop a proprietary platform of novel glutamine antagonists. With this licensed platform, Dracen will develop anticancer therapies by building upon immunometabolism effects that have been demonstrated in preclinical cancer models. The goal of these therapies will be to increase the number of responders to anti-cancer therapy, extend survival, and provide anti-tumor responses in areas currently evading immuno-oncology approaches.
Thomas M. Estok, Chief Executive Officer of Dracen Pharmaceuticals, commented: “We are pleased with the opportunity to further develop this important program so that one day it may benefit cancer patients around the world. The licensed technology from Johns Hopkins and IOCB represents a novel mechanism for delivering immunometabolism drugs to tumors while sparing normal tissues and organs of untoward effects. Our goal is to further develop and study the technology in clinical research in early 2019.”
Dracen’s platform has promise outside of oncology as well. Future exploration will be in the areas of auto-immune disorders, inflammatory disease, and central nervous system conditions such as dementia.
Neil Veloso, Executive Director for Technology Transfer at Johns Hopkins Technology Ventures, the university’s intellectual property licensing arm, commented: “This agreement with Dracen Pharmaceuticals is the latest example of the many exciting and impactful developments coming out of Johns Hopkins. This novel technology, coupled with a focused plan and experienced management team, holds the promise of fulfilling our research mission: to bring the benefits of discovery to the world.”
About Dracen Pharmaceuticals
Dracen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. is a newly-formed, privately-funded biotech company developing drugs discovered at The Johns Hopkins University. Dracen was established by Johns Hopkins University professors Barbara Slusher, MAS/PhD and Jonathan Powell, MD/PhD and colleagues to develop novel glutamine antagonists for the treatment…