Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas awards $10.8M grant to biotech firm DNAtrix Inc

February 25
8:32 AM 2014

Houston, Texas-based DNAtrix Inc received a $10.8 million product development grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas or CPRIT, a statement about the grant said.

The biotech firm will use the award to finance its clinical stage program in glioblastoma, considered as the most aggressive kind of brain cancer. The grant, called "Clinical development and commercialization of oncolytic adenovirus for treating malignant glioma," is going to be used for the clinical development of DNX-2401. This is the company's lead product candidate now on a Phase Ib trial combined with temozolomide to treat this kind of cancer, the statement said.

A genetically modified adenovirus is used in DNX-2401 which selectively eradicates tumor cells. The lead drug candidate showed an outstanding safety profile in a Phase 1 trial held earlier. It also exhibited promising results for drug efficacy, the statement said.

DNAtrix Chief Executive Officer Dr. Frank Tufaro said in a statement, "We are thrilled to receive this generous grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas, as these funds will accelerate DNAtrix's efforts to pursue the clinical development of our lead oncolytic virus product for glioblastoma. We appreciate the support from such a reputable organization as CPRIT, as it offers additional validation of our cancer program and the clinical benefits that we continue to observe in our clinical trials including long-term survival and tumor destruction."

CPRIT was established in 2009. It gives financing for scientific research, product development and prevention programs. It gives support to Texas-based firms who are doing research and development programs focused on oncology. It also provides support to current oncology-focused firms to relocate to Texas. CPRIT product development grants are given for therapeutics, devices and drug development, the statement said.

A privately-held firm, DNAtrix is a clinical-stage firm that develops modified oncolytic viruses to treat the most aggressive kinds of cancer, the statement said.

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