Start-up to Use WSU’s Green Tea Research for Cancer Treatments

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Research performed at Wayne State University will play a role at Viteava Pharmaceuticals Inc., a start-up drug development company in Toronto, which aims to develop treatments for cancer and related conditions using green tea extracts.

“We’re still collaborating with Wayne State,” says Robert Foldes, Viteava’s founder and CEO. “They’re still doing some research, so it’s not a total handoff.”

In November, Viteava secured an exclusive license to an intellectual property portfolio resulting from research by Q. Ping Dou of Wayne State and the Karmanos Cancer Institute, and Tak-Hang Chan of McGill University in Montreal and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. The company expects its lead drug candidate to enter clinical development in 2015.

Wayne State and Dou’s contribution to the portfolio stemmed from a grant and administration supplement of more than $1.6 million from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health. The grant was initially funded in 2006.

The company is especially interested in developing a treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Foldes says. “We have not studied those cells yet, so that’s one of the things that we have to do. In the past, we have studied prostate and breast cancer cells, and we have shown that our drug candidates can kill those cells without affecting normal cells,” he says.

In addition to Wayne State, the portfolio is owned by McGill University, the University of South Florida, the Moffitt Cancer Center, and the Hong Kong Polytechnic University.

“Negotiating and executing this license agreement with multiple leading institutions was an important achievement and critical to advancing several exciting drug candidates discovered in the academic setting,” Foldes says. 

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