U-M Cancer Drug Startup Signs on with Biopharmaceutical Firm


A University of Michigan startup that develops drugs relating to treating breast, colon, prostate, and lung cancers has signed a research and license agreement with Medivation Inc., a biopharmaceutical company based in San Francisco.

“This agreement provides us with the opportunity to accelerate research and development exploring the role of BET bromodomain proteins in oncology,” says Arul Chinnaiyan, director of the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology, who co-founded OncoFusion Therapeutics Inc. with fellow U-M professor Shaomeng Wang in 2012.

BET bromodomain proteins regulate genes and play a critical role in cancer and other diseases, Chinnaiyan says. Emerging research in the area of cancer biology suggests that targeting these proteins may reduce the growth of a number of tumor types.

Wang, who is also the director of the Center for Discovery of New Medicines at U-M, says the partnership will “provide us with the opportunity to rapidly advance our BET inhibitors into clinical development as a new approach for cancer treatment.”

As part of the agreement, Medivation receives exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize the compounds.

“We intend to expand our footprint in cancer by developing improved next generation therapies based upon cutting edge technologies,” says David Hung, president and CEO of Medivation.

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