Lorus Therapeutics will test the anticancer activity and drug-like properties of pancratistatin derivatives synthesized by the research group of Tomas Hudlicky, Ph.D., professor and Canada research chair at Canada’s Brock University. The collaboration is aimed at developing new anticancer drugs based on chemical derivatives of the natural compound pancratistatin.

Pancratistatin, an anti-tumor agent isolated from the Amaryllidaceae family of plants, has shown success against several cancers including breast, lung, prostate, and pancreatic tumors, with minimal toxic effects on normal cells. Yet development of pancratistatin as a cancer therapy has proven challenging due to limited availability from natural sources and poor solubility.

Dr. Hudlicky’s group has synthesized several derivatives of pancratistatin that have improved solubility and yield, and which have shown anticancer activity in preliminary studies. Lorus said it will conduct further anticancer testing on these and additional compounds, as well as bioavailability studies in animals.

Lorus said it will contribute half of total eligible costs as cash and/or in-kind contributions, and share jointly with Brock University in new intellectual property created from the collaboration.

The partnership is also being funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario’s Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative. The program, set to end March 31, 2013, is designed to help small- and medium-sized businesses in southern Ontario access applied research and development and precommercialization expertise found in post-secondary institutions.

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