February 7, 2017
Purdue-affiliated pharmaceutical company launches product to produce rare disease-fighting compounds
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — A pharmaceutical company based on Purdue University intellectual property has launched a product line that will allow researchers and medical professionals the ability to produce larger amounts of compounds that could lead to new disease-fighting drugs.
Akanocure Pharmaceuticals Inc., headquartered in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, has begun offering packets of chemical building blocks that will enable the creation of a rare class of compounds produced by plants, marine life and other small life forms. These compounds show promise in stopping the growth of bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites and cancer tumor cells.
The ability to produce the compounds on a large scale could lead to new drugs to fight cancer and other diseases.
According to Sherine Abdelmawla, Akanocure’s co-founder and CEO, these compounds, called polyproprionate polyketides, can’t be harvested from their natural sources since they are produced in such small quantities. They also can’t be made from scratch synthetically due to their complex structure and the absence of an efficient way to do so on a large scale.
“Akanocure’s chemical stereotetrad building blocks will ease the synthesis of such compounds and may increase their number in the drug development pipelines,” Abdelmawla said. “These compounds would represent a treasure trove of potential drugs if they can be made on a large scale. That translates to more options for patients.”
Purdue University researchers led by Philip Fuchs, the emeritus R. B. Wetherill Professor of Organic Chemistry, helped develop the technology that allows large-scale synthesis of complex natural products. Fuchs is a co-founder of Akanocure along with Abdelmawla and Mohammad Noshi.
Abdelmawla has more than 10 years of experience working in academia and in biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries to develop HCV inhibitors, nucleic acid-based cancer therapeutics and cancer diagnostics.
Noshi has more than 10 years of experience within academic and industrial settings developing chemistry methodologies, synthesis of anti-cancer natural products, complex alkaloids synthesis, diagnostic agents for image-guided surgery in cancer and potential drug candidates for Alzheimer’s disease and prostate cancer.
“We want to use our line of building blocks to produce a number of pipeline candidates in the future to treat unmet needs in the fight against cancer,” Noshi said. “Akanocure also strives to add more building blocks to its library in the future to enable the synthesis of more biologically relevant compounds for the scientific community.”
Akanocure Pharmaceuticals was chosen to participate in the FOUNDER.org Class of 2016. It received $100,000 from the program in 2015. It also received a combined $80,000 from the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund in 2015 and 2016.
Akanocure Pharmaceuticals has licensed the technology through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization.
About Akanocure Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Akanocure is dedicated to introducing breakthrough therapeutics for orphan and unmet needs in cancer using natural products as a starting point for drug design. Akanocure's drug design is enabled by its synthesis platform that made otherwise unattainable compounds readily available.
About Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
The Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2016 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Innovation from the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at email@example.com.
Purdue Research Foundation contact: Curt Slyder, 765-588-3342, firstname.lastname@example.org
Sources: Sherine Abdelmawla, 765-588-3822, email@example.com
Mohammad Noshi, 765-588-3822, firstname.lastname@example.org