Omniox said today it has received a $5.8 million Translation Fund Award from the Wellcome Trust to advance development of its lead product OMX-4.80 for the treatment of hypoxic cancers including glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

The award is intended to support further development of OMX-4.80 and Phase I clinical studies in GBM. Preclinical studies have shown that OMX-4.80 can reverse hypoxia in a range of cancers and enhance the therapeutic benefits of radiotherapy.

“This award will help Omniox advance its mission of improving the lives of people with fatal diseases like GBM, where there continues to be a serious unmet medical need,” Stephen Cary, Ph.D., CEO and co-founder, said in a statement.

OMX-4.80 is a thermostable H-NOX oxygen delivery protein designed to treat hypoxic tumors. OMX-4.80 uses Omniox’s oxygen delivery technology, designed to address a broad range of clinical needs where reversing hypoxia is likely to improve patient survival and health.

The platform is derived from the naturally occurring H-NOX family of gas-binding proteins that act as stable gas sensors in a variety of biological settings. According to Omniox, H-NOX proteins have shown a superior safety profile to hemoglobin based oxygen carriers, because they do not scavenging nitric oxide, causing vasoconstriction. H-NOX proteins also can be engineered to achieve a broad range of therapeutic profiles through modification of their oxygen binding/release characteristics and circulation lifespan.

When used in combination with conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy, Omniox said, OMX-4.80 has the potential to significantly increase survival in patients with hypoxic tumors.

Headquartered in San Carlos, California, Omniox was founded in 2006 to commercialize technology developed by the laboratory of Michael A. Marletta, Ph.D., in the Department of Chemistry at UC Berkeley. Dr. Marletta co-fuonded the company and chairs its Scientific Advisory Board.

Omniox has been supported by a group of private investors and federal institutions, including NIH’s National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS).

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