Patented DNA modification technology shows potential to improve chemotherapy as treatment of various cancers

Red 5 pharmaceuticals logoBiopharmaceutical startup Red5 Pharmaceuticals LLC has executed an exclusive license from Case Western Reserve University to further develop procedures during chemotherapy using a patented DNA modification technology.

The technology allows a personalized medicine approach to chemotherapy—the customization of patient health care by tailoring specific treatment decisions and practices to an individual.

Cancer patients in the United States commonly experience DNA damage as part of chemotherapy treatment. DNA modification, caused by chemical agents, plays an important role in therapeutic responses to chemotherapy. However, there are no diagnostic tests to measure and characterize DNA repair enzymes in patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Founded in late 2013, Red5 is licensing patented technology discovered by the company’s co-founder, Chief Scientific Officer Anthony Berdis, at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, where he was an assistant professor of pharmacology. Berdis devoted his research to exploring the mechanism and dynamics of precise and pro-mutagenic DNA synthesis.

The Cleveland-based company intends to commercially develop “a new diagnostic platform capitalizing on novel, patented diagnostic compounds to significantly improve patient care during chemotherapy, and to use those compounds to improve the effectiveness of current chemotherapy regimens,” said Red5 Chairman and Co-founder Tim Miller.

“The ability to provide patients and oncologists with information on whether a patient may respond to a particular chemotherapy prior to treatment will help them make data-driven decisions on treatment choice,” Miller said.

Novel, non-natural DNA analogs, developed by Berdis, function as potent drugs that prevent DNA synthesis in certain cancers. Preclinical studies demonstrate the therapy’s significant benefits in treating cancers that respond to DNA damaging agents. The company will file for orphan drug status for its lead candidates before early-phase clinical trials, which are expected to begin in 2017.

“Although nucleoside analogs are widely used to treat various cancers, our unique non-natural analogs provide a significant advancement, as they target specific enzymes associated with drug-resistance,” Berdis said. “In fact, our pre-clinical data shows remarkable effects against glioblastoma, colon cancer, and certain types of leukemia. Our nucleoside analogs are also remarkably versatile, as they can be applied as chemical probes in both in vitro and in vivo diagnostic test.”

The company’s lead product is its trademarked KRun kit, which uses patented chemicals to assess patient samples (blood, serum or tumor biopsy) and determine whether a particular chemotherapy program will be effective at treating leukemias, lymphomas and solid tumors. The kit will provide oncologists with essential information to make rapid clinical decisions.