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Feb 24, 2014

DNAtrix Wins $10.8 to Develop Brain Tumor-Attacking Virus

  • DNAtrix has just received a product development grant for $10.8 million from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) to fund the firm's glioblastoma program. The grant, dubbed “Clinical development and commercialization of oncolytic adenovirus for treating malignant glioma,” will be used to develop DNX-2401, an oncolytic virus that is right now in a Phase Ib trial in combination with temozolomide for recurrent glioblastoma.

    DNX-2401 works by using an adenovirus that has been genetically modified to kill tumor cells selectively. The firm says DNX-2401 performed well in an earlier Phase I study, with promising efficacy results: The candidate can reportedly replicate in human tumors for a period of weeks to months and trigger immune cell infiltration into the tumor in ways not seen in other therapies, causing ongoing tumor destruction.

    "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," said DNAtrix' CEO Frank Tufaro, Ph.D., in a statement.

    CPRIT says its grants support oncology-focused research and development conducted by companies based in Texas and the relocation of established oncology-focused companies from outside of the Lone Star State to Texas. These grants cover product development sectors such as therapeutics, devices, and drug development. Another firm that has received a CPRIT grant is Asuragen, which won $6.8 million toward pursuing next-generation sequencing applications back in March of 2012.

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