Gaithersburg, MD; December 4, 2013 – Noble Life Sciences (Gaithersburg, MD) announced today that the company has been awarded a Technology Commercialization Fund (TCF) grant of $100,000 from the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO). The grant will be used to develop assays to determine the effect of cancer treatments on metastatic cells derived directly from patients. Metastasis-initiating tumor cells isolated from the blood of cancer patients will be used to assay the activity of drugs both in culture and in novel metastatic mouse models developed using these invasive circulating tumor cells (CTCs).
Dr. Stephen Horrigan, Chief Scientific Officer of Noble Life Sciences, noted, “In over 90% of cancer deaths, metastasis, not the primary tumor, is responsible. Yet virtually all cancer drug development testing is based on activity in primary tumors. The development of these metastasis-associated assays will enable us to offer highly innovative services to clients who are developing novel therapeutic drugs, in particular those that target metastatic cancers and cancer stem cells. One goal of our development effort will be to demonstrate the ability to test ex vivo the sensitivity and resistance of metastasis-initiating invasive CTCs to candidate drugs. A second goal will be to create patient-derived metastasis mouse (PDM mouse) models thereby establishing mouse avatars for preclinical testing of human metastatic tumors.”
The isolation of viable metastasis-initiating invasive CTCs from the peripheral blood of cancer patients is based on a new patented technique called Cell Adhesion Matrix-Based (CAM) Enrichment of Invasive CTCs licensed by Noble Life Sciences from Vitatex, Inc. (Stony Brook, NY) for commercial research services. Vitatex produces the CAM-coated capture devices and associated reagents, which Noble will use to develop its commercial research services.
“We are pleased to be collaborating with Noble Life Sciences in the development of services that extend the application of our technology to cancer drug development,” stated Dr. Wen-Tien Chen, Vitatex’s President and Founder. “The combination of Noble’s expertise in oncology animal and cell-based assays and Vitatex’s CAM-based isolation of viable invasive CTCs from patient blood samples will address a vital need to study drug sensitivity in metastatic tumor models.”
About Noble Life Sciences
Noble Life Sciences provides in vitro and in vivo preclinical drug development services including experimental design and testing, animal and cellular disease models, cell line development and protein production, selection and validation of biomarkers, and vivarium services. With deep expertise in drug development, the company offers access to their top scientists who work collaboratively with researchers to expedite preclinical and clinical therapeutic development. For more information about Noble Life Sciences, visit www.noblelifesci.com.
About the Maryland Technology Development Corporation (TEDCO)
TEDCO is the go-to source for entrepreneurial support and guidance for start-ups and early-stage companies engaged in bringing innovative ideas to market. For more than a decade, the organization has provided funding, mentoring and networking opportunities to support Maryland’s innovation ecosystem. While founded by the Maryland General Assembly, TEDCO is an independent entity that makes seed/early-stage investments and manages private capital for angel and venture capital funds. It is frequently ranked as one of the most active seed/early-stage investors in the nation. The organization plays a key role in bringing research created in Maryland’s educational institutions and federal laboratories into the commercial marketplace. For more information on TEDCO and its programs and resources, visit www.MarylandTEDCO.org.
Vitatex is focused on advance personalized medicine with tests of invasive circulating tumor cells (CTCs) that provide better information about the metastatic potential of a patient’s cancer to improve treatment and reduce health care costs. The company’s unique advantage stems from its patented approach that captures invasive CTCs directly linked to the metastatic process. Leveraging its functional Cell Adhesion Matrix (CAM) technology, Vitatex is developing proprietary diagnostic tests that can be run on blood samples, collected by standard current methods, to improve cancer treatment decisions. The company also offers research products and services for cancer drug development and metastasis research through collaborative partnerships. For more information about Vitatex, visit www.vitatex.com.