Research Foundation News

May 31, 2017

Purdue pharmaceutical company named finalist in MassChallenge Boston accelerator program

Noshi Akanocure Sherine Abdelmawla and Mohammad Noshi co-founded Akanocure Pharmaceuticals are named as part of the 2017 MassChallenge Boston accelerator program. Their life sciences company is advancing cancer-fighting pharmaceutical drugs. (Purdue Research Foundation photo)  Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. and BOSTON – Akanocure Pharmaceuticals Inc., a pharmaceutical company based on Purdue University intellectual property, is a finalist in a juried collection of other early-stage startups chosen to participate in the 2017 MassChallenge Boston accelerator program.

As a participant in MassChallenge’s Boston accelerator program, Akanocure will receive access to MassChallenge's global network, world-class mentoring from industry experts, tailored programming, free co-working space, and unrivalled access to corporate partners.

Just 8 percent of the 1,500 globally competitive applicants to the program have been accepted into the summer-long program that culminates on Nov. 2 at the MassChallenge Boston Awards Ceremony with participants competing for more than $1.5 million in equity-free awards. The program’s 128 participants are from 12 countries and 16 U.S. states. Selection committee members included executives from Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Genzyme, GE and others.

Akanocure, founded by Purdue alumni Sherine Abdelmawla and Mohammad Noshi with Philip Fuchs, Purdue emeritus R.B. Wetherill Professor of Organic Chemistry,  is developing a technology to introduce second-generation small molecules (SGSM) as breakthrough therapeutics for orphan and unmet needs in cancer.

“The Mass Challenge Boston accelerator program is one of the most prestigious startup projects in the world, and we are honored to be included in this year’s esteemed group,” Abdelmawla said. “We will have the opportunity to work directly with major corporate partners, have access to Boston’s Innovation and Design Building, and develop relationships with top leaders and investors in our field.”

Located in the Purdue Research Park of West Lafayette, Akanocure is dedicated to introducing a group of novel small molecules for orphan and unmet needs in cancer. Akanocure’s drug design is enabled by its proprietary synthesis platform that made otherwise unattainable compounds readily available. 

“We want to use our line of stereo-enriched small molecules to produce a number of pipeline candidates to treat unmet needs in the fight against cancer,” Noshi said. “We also strive to make our technology accessible to the scientific community to enable the synthesis of more biologically relevant compounds.”

The startup is working with the National Cancer Institute and other industry collaborators to push its first pipeline candidate, AK-321, to clinical trials within the next few years.

Akanocure Pharmaceuticals also was chosen to participate in the FOUNDER.org Class of 2016 and received $100,000 from the program. It also received a combined $80,000 from the Elevate Purdue Foundry Fund black and gold awards in 2015 and 2016. 

About MassChallenge

MassChallenge is the most startup-friendly accelerator on the planet. No equity and not-for-profit, we are obsessed with helping entrepreneurs across any industry. We also reward the highest-impact startups through a competition to win a portion of several million dollars in equity-free cash awards. Through our global network of accelerators in Boston, the UK, Israel, Switzerland, and Mexico, and unrivaled access to our corporate partners, we can have a massive impact - driving growth and creating value the world over. To date, 1,211 MassChallenge alumni have raised over $2 billion in funding, generated approximately $900 million in revenue, and created over 65,000 direct and indirect jobs. For more information, please visit masschallenge.org.

About Akanocure Pharmaceuticals Inc.

Akanocure is dedicated to introducing breakthrough therapeutics for orphan and unmet needs in cancer using a group of carefully designed bio-inspired second generation small molecules (SGSM).  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 foundry@prf.org. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Office of Technology Commercialization at innovation@prf.org 

Writer: Cynthia Sequin, 765-588-3340, casequin@prf.org 

Sources: Sherine Abdelmawla, 765-588-3822, sabdelmawla@akanocure.com

Mohammad Noshi, 765-588-3822, mnoshi@akanocure.com


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