NIH grant to boost ovarian cancer drug development

UT Health San Antonio researchers conduct biopharmaceutical studies

The Mays Cancer Center and Evestra Inc., a San Antonio, Texas-based biopharmaceutical company, have been awarded a five-year, $3.3 million Academic Industry Partnership grant from the National Institutes of Health. It is the first grant of this kind awarded to UT Health San Antonio.

The grant will be split between the two organizations. Mays Cancer Center will use $1.8 million to study the mechanism, safety and efficacy of EC359, a drug being studied as a stand-alone therapy as well as in combination with other drug treatments for ovarian cancer. Evestra will use $1.5 million for drug manufacturing, toxicity and formulation studies.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, treatment for ovarian cancer usually involves a combination of surgery and chemotherapy. For patients, the research and development of EC359 means a novel therapy drug can be used to curb the progression of ovarian cancer cells. Ovarian cancer ranks fifth in cancer deaths among women.

“Receiving support from the NIH will enhance and elevate our research in treating ovarian cancer,” said Ratna K. Vadlamudi, PhD, professor and vice chair of research in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at UT Health San Antonio.

The NIH recently established the grant program to foster academic-industrial partnerships. This grant provides support for obtaining much-needed preclinical data before the drug is submitted for approval from the FDA to enter the first-in-human clinical trial phase.


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