Research Foundation News

June 3, 2020

$2 million SBIR grant fast-tracks cancer drug platform technology, which aims to better treat relapse

herman-sintin Herman O. Sintim, the Drug Discovery Professor of Chemistry in Purdue’s Department of Chemistry, is a co-founder and chief scientific officer of KinaRx. (Image provided) Download image

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Acute myeloid leukemia (AML), an aggressive blood cancer, is one of the most lethal cancers. More than 19,000 new cases are diagnosed a year, and more than 11,000 people a year die from it, according to the American Cancer Society.

A $1,999,998 SBIR Phase I/II grant from the National Cancer Institute to KinaRx LLC, a Purdue University-affiliated startup, will help fast-track to human trials a novel platform aimed at treating relapse for AML and other diseases.

“We are ready to take our technology to the next level and potentially help people who are dealing with aggressive and deadly diseases that offer few treatment options, particularly for relapse patients,” said Herman O. Sintim, the Drug Discovery Professor of Chemistry in Purdue’s Department of Chemistry.

KinaRx was founded by Sintim, who is its chief scientific officer, along with M. Javad Aman, Rena Lapidus, Ashkan Emadi, Frederick Holtsberg and Joe O’Neill.

The compounds under development by KinaRx were developed using Sintim’s platform that makes complex drug molecules rapidly using bioinformatics, multi-component compound synthesis and the understanding of disease biology.

KinaRx has licensed drug compounds through the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization, which is now housed in the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Discovery Park District, adjacent to the Purdue campus.

“These compounds have shown promise in treating people who have a recurrence of AML and now we want to do further testing and move into clinical trials,” said Sintim, who is a member of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research and the Purdue Institute for Drug Discovery.

About 30 percent of AML patients have a mutation caused by a kinase called FLT3, which makes the leukemia more aggressive. Although a few FLT3 inhibitors have already been approved in the clinic, patients can relapse due to mutations in the FLT3 protein, which cause drug resistance. KinaRx is commercializing a series of new compounds that inhibit mutant FLT3 kinases, especially mutant versions that are resistant to current FDA-approved FLT3 inhibitors such as gilteritinib. These compounds were developed by researchers in Sintim’s lab at Purdue.

The researchers are looking for partners to continue testing and developing their technology. For more information on other opportunities related to the technology, contact Sintim at

About KinaRx LLC

KinaRx is a start-up biotechnology company and focuses on development of novel kinase inhibitors for treatment of cancer with an emphasis on treatment of drug resistant tumors.  KinaRx portfolio includes therapeutic candidates for acute myeloid leukemia, lung cancer, medullary thyroid cancer, among others.

About Purdue Research Foundation

The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Established in 1930, the foundation accepts gifts; administers trusts; funds scholarships and grants; acquires property; protects Purdue's intellectual property; and promotes entrepreneurial activities on behalf of Purdue. The foundation manages the Purdue Foundry, Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization, Purdue Research Park, Purdue Technology Centers and University Development Office. In 2020, the IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The foundation received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. For more information on licensing a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization at For more information about involvement and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at For more information about setting up a presence at Purdue, possibly in the Purdue Research Park or Discovery Park District, contact the PRF Economic Development Office at

Writer: Chris Adam, 765-588-3341, 
Source: Herman O. Sintim,

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